FDS: November 2004 Archives

November 30, 2004

Mola Mola

Giant Sunfish spotted in the Neuse.

"I think it's an all-time inland record," he said, of the fish belonging to the species of which others were spotted in January 2003 off Cape Lookout and near Surf City in 2002. A sharp tail was reported north of Hatteras in February 2003.

The 6 1/2-foot, several hundred-pound fish usually lives in warm and temperate areas of most oceans, swimming upright and feeding on jellyfish, small fish, crustaceans, or crabs, said Neuse RiverKeeper Larry Baldwin, who was called by residents in the Neuse Bluffs area.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pics

A 170 pound halibut, caught by an 11 year old.

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

MLK Stripers

I've gotten permission from the wife for an striper trip in January. MLK weekend seems the best, as I doubt I'll get permission to go over New Year's, and the Solunar tables predict that fishing that Friday, Saturday and Sunday ought to be pretty good.

I'm thinking Ocracoke, as there's more to do there if the weather is bad, and it's easier to get to the north side of the island if the wind is bad for the south. Also, according to the archives, there are stripers to be had there in January.

Who's in?

Posted by Bigwig at 01:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 26, 2004

Whisky

To compete with the gay man's favorite tipple, vodka, whisky distillers are developing various brands of scotch for pussies.

"We're reaching out to younger drinkers who want the finer things in life. A lighter, more accessible style will bring in new drinkers," says Mark Izatt, brand manager for single malts at Remy Martin's U.S. importing arm. Mr. Izatt says the original Macallan's strong and peaty flavor is a barrier to younger drinkers.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 23, 2004

Bycatch

Long-line bycatch in the Pacific is nearly as bad as regular net bycatch.

"Contrary to its reputation as a clean fishing technology, industrial, pelagic longline fishing in the Pacific annually captures and kills about 4.4 million non-targeted marine species."

The report, entitled Pillaging the Pacific, says that 3.3 million sharks, one million marlin, 59,000 sea turtles, up to 76,000 black-footed and laysan albatross and almost 20,000 dolphins, including the bottlenose, spotted and spinner, are captured or killed by longline fishing.

Among the whales killed by longlines are the beaked, humpback and sperm varieties.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Breaking News On The Dope Front

The Swiss are Europe's biggest potheads.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Luck

Never give up.

On Sunday, Steve Flores took his 15-year-old nephew, Justin, to San Luis Pass for his birthday, where bull redfish were the targeted species. Flores jammed two PVC pipes into the sand (to serve as rod holders) and tossed cut mullet to a spot just across the third sandbar.

To pass time, the anglers worked finger mullet across the shallow sandbars, a strategy that netted some flounder, when out of the blue one of the surf rods suddenly “shot toward the Gulf like a rocket.”

“Before we could blink twice, I could see a rooster tail from my rod and reel through the surf, and then it was gone,” said Flores. “I ran to my truck, rigged another rod and reel with extra hooks and weights, and I cast at least 30 times into a deep drop-off, hoping to snag my Gulf-bound rod and reel.”

Now, before you say, “no way,” Flores did eventually snag his equipment, and when he finally brought it in, it was still running outbound.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Great White

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...it turns out you were right, as long as there are dolphins nearby.

A pod of dolphins circled protectively round a group of New Zealand swimmers to fend off an attack by a great white shark, media reported on Tuesday.

Lifesavers Rob Howes, his 15-year-old daughter Niccy, Karina Cooper and Helen Slade were swimming 300 feet off Ocean Beach near Whangarei on New Zealand's North Island when the dolphins herded them -- apparently to protect them from a shark.

Posted by Bigwig at 12:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 22, 2004

American Shad

What we need here is an enterprising soul with a knife.

The inflatable dam is the largest of its kind in the country and is used to create a man-made lake for boating during the summer at the exact time the shad return to the upper reaches of the Susquehanna. The dam stretches about a half mile across the Susquehanna River. It is raised in late April and deflated in October.

"The goal being to provide a recreational lake over the summer," says Ferrara.
A friend of boaters, the dam - built in 1970 - is the enemy of migratory fish. The dam's permit requires fish passage if the Fish and Boat Commission requests it.

"It was one of the early mandates of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to restore the American shad," Dr. Mangan says of the requirement.

But that mandate was never acted on until 1999, when the shad began to reappear beneath the dam.

With an inflatable dam, the idea of building a $4.2 million fish-passage system seems unnecessary. Why not deflate a section or two of the dam for fish passage or delay its inflation?

Ferrara says it is a reflection of the public response to a 1999 public meeting jointly held by Shikellamy State Park and the Fish and Boat Commission. At the meeting, Ferrara says the public overwhelmingly "made it clear that while they support migratory fish restoration, they do not want their boating opportunities reduced to accommodate fish passage in May and June."

Good thing fishermen don't have ready access to a myriad of sharp objects.

Postscript: Went looking for a pic of the dam. This was the best I could find.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Kind Of A Reverse Bycatch

Efforts to protect the bottlenose dolphin may impact the NC commercials.

Western North Atlantic coastal bottlenose dolphins, ranging primarily from New Jersey to Florida, are considered "strategic" and "depleted," special status designations under the MMPA. The BDTRT team reviewed bottlenose dolphin stock abundance and mortality information, developing strategies to reduce the serious injury and mortality resulting from incidental interactions with nine commercial fisheries, including the following; North Carolina Inshore Gillnet; Southeast Atlantic Gillnet; Southeastern United States Shark Gillnet; United States Mid-Atlantic Coastal Gillnet; Atlantic Blue Crab Trap/Pot; Mid-Atlantic Haul/Beach Seine; North Carolina Long Haul Seine; North Carolina Roe Mullet Stop Net; and Virginia Pound Net.

I can see why the commercials are so jumpy. It must sometimes seem as if they are besieged on all sides.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Red Drun

Shallow water drum.

Nudging cordgrass stems out of the way, a red drum enters water inches deep during high tide, rooting like a pig to find crabs and shrimp hiding in the marshes of the Cape Fear River.
...
At first there was only a ripple, then concentric circles like those created by the splashes of the endless number of jumping mullet. But then a blue-edged, coppery caudal fin lifted silently from the water. The fish stood on its head to feed, a movement called "tailing."

Posted by Bigwig at 10:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Net Ban

More on the aftereffects of the Florida gill-net ban.

Since then, fishing in the Big Bend never has been better, says Scott Paterna, owner of Jerry's Bait and Tackle on the Woodville Highway in Wakulla County.

Plenty of Spanish and king mackerel are being caught between Dog Island and St. George Island off the Franklin County coast. People are catching five-pound sea trout that were unheard of a few years ago. And the big pompano, sheepshead, grouper and redfish also are plentiful.

Paterna said: "You have no idea how much our bay is flourishing."

Of course, it depends on who you ask.

Net fishermen dispute studies that suggest fish populations are improving since the net ban. They say fish populations weren't in trouble when the net ban was adopted, so they can't be recovering now.

The constitutional amendment - which many commercial fishermen refuse to call a "net ban" - won't help fish while the number of recreational anglers continues to increase, said Richard Van Munster, an outspoken commercial fisherman from Panacea.

They are the "major waster and overharvester of fish," Van Munster said.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 19, 2004

Beer

Dirty, dirty beer.

Belgians are chuckling over the new corporate name for beer giant Interbrew (maker of Stella Artois). After merging with Brazil's AmBev, the company changed its title to InBev which, as beer expert Tim Webb notes, is Antwerp slang for cunnilingus...

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Speck

I don't care what pound test you have on the reel. If you ever manage to hook this Speckled Trout, you ain't landing it.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Red Drum

Red Drum are on the rebound in South Carolina, thanks to all those regulations commercial fishermen swore would be the death of them.

The target for McDonald on this day was red drum, the tough inshore species that dwindled to dangerously low numbers in the late 1980s and early 1990s thanks to years of commercial netting and a lack of solid recreational regulations.

The banning of inshore gill nets, the institution of strict recreational limits and the species designation as a gamefish, have helped red drum make an encouraging comeback in South Carolina's coastal areas.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Solunar Tables

Solunar notes from Kansas

1. I have had more consistent success when fishing the major peak. The fish caught on theses peaks were overall larger ones. Most of the largemouth bass would go between four and eight and a half pounds.

2. The success with the largemouth large ones was by far the highest on the major peak in the new moon window days. One exception occurred just a day or two ago when I had great success in the full moon window days. In 45 minutes I caught three largemouth bass, two at four pounds and one at eight and a half pounds. A point of interest on this is that by national statistics, 65 percent of the world record fish have been caught on the major peak and 74 percent in the new moon window days.

3. Several times I went out with clear air away from the major peak. I caught fish, but they were all smaller ones. I also believe when the bigger ones are active the smaller ones are not and vice versa.

4. A couple times I hit just as weather change to a high pressure was coming on and the major peak was there, and I had unbelievable success.

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November 18, 2004

Beer

The best beer for the bird, not to mention the other Thanksgiving courses.

Roasting that turkey has created some interesting caramel and smoky flavors along with the nice herbal notes from the seasonings and stuffing. When enjoying beer with the bird, you have choices. Try a beer that matches those caramel notes, like an American amber ale, a dubbel or tripel (Belgian-style beers) or an Oktoberfest (there's a reason why they serve roasted chickens at the Oktoberfest in Munich). Or you can go for something that more closely supports the actual light meat and herbal seasonings of the turkey -- and might even contrast with some of the fattier fare. Look for a locally brewed biere de garde, a Belgian-style tripel (many local and regional brewers make one) or a Belgian-style saison.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Stripers

A number of stripers in the Chesapeake, but no large ones.

Last week when my family fished the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel there were massive schools of striped bass ripping into baitfish, much to the glee of thousands of gulls diving into to the foray. But the stripers were disappointedly small, many of them 16 to 20 inches in length.

The large stripers haven't yet shown up in New Jersey, either.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Eels

Concerned by plummeting stocks, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has asked wildlife scientists to determine if American Eels should be listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

What are the leading suspects in the cause of the decline? Pollution and dams.Specifically, dam turbines.

A dam's spinning turbines, located near the bottoms of rivers, can draw in eels during their nocturnal migration and chop up the 2-to-4-foot-long fish before they can reach the sea. In a Canadian government study, two hydroelectric dams on the St. Lawrence River were found to kill some 40 percent of adult eels trying to swim downstream, possibly more than 200,000 eels a year.

That's another striper food source in danger.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Hippy Chicks

A possible logo for next year, courtesy of a friend of the Dog's. I've sent it on to Clif for an estimate.

Three problems. One, colors are expensive, and we need to keep the cost of the shirt under $20. Two, it would look....odd on tie-dye. Three, it should incorporate the "no hippy chicks" theme--though we could easily enough add a Ghostbusters type circle and slash to it.

Ideas? Comments?

Posted by Bigwig at 11:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 17, 2004

Specks

Specks in the surf at Ocracoke

Posted by Bigwig at 09:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Summer Flounder

4.8 million-pounds. That's the total tonnage of summer flounder the NC commercials will be allowed to land next year.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Menhaden

Gene Mueller: The menhaden situation will get worse before gets better, if it gets better.

The board had been asked to consider some type of interim action to cap the menhaden harvest at current levels while more research is carried out, but it postponed that decision.

One thing is certain: Omega Protein, the Houston-based company that operates a refurbished fish processing facility in Reedville, Va., and which removes 90 percent of the menhaden catch on the East Coast (most of it coming from the Chesapeake Bay) is glad that no action has been taken.

As we said before, don't expect the ASMFC to do much of anything that would harm commercial fishery operations. For example, the Maryland DNR's Jensen has long been a supporter of commercial fish netters, so let's not get all jiggly about possible protective action. When the meeting finally takes place, I don't expect much to change.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Whisky

I don't know how much whisky one gets in a "nip," but if I'm paying 50 pounds per I hope they'll be on the largish side.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Menhaden

You know, if you're going to poo-poo menhaden depletion as a reason for the widespread emaciation of the Chesapeake stripers, it seems incumbent upon the poo-pooer to offer another explanation, not segue into complaints about the decline in blue crabs.

Especially when he has no explanations to offer there, either.

Who's to blame for the local blue crab deficit? The year-round commercial crabbers are probably at fault along with pollution. Let's not judge until we have some answers.

Way to take a stand there, Art.

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

Ferries

"Welcome to Cedar Island, sir. Please step out of the car."

Vehicles waiting in line to get on a ferry plying North Carolina waters are now being subjected to random searches as part of maritime security regulations put in place to prevent terrorism.

Two security officers for the North Carolina Ferry Division began screening vehicles in early October, said Ferry Division Director Jerry Gaskill.

I imagine this will make some people's trips over just a tad more...exciting.

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

November 16, 2004

Beer

French Broad River Brewing's Flanders Style Abbey Ale gets a review in the Citizen-Times

Since Jonas Rembert opened French Broad River Brewing back in 2001, he's made a real name by mostly crafting beer styles that no one else in town was trying, especially those with a European flair. His latest, Flanders Style Abbey Ale, is among this finest creations yet, a delightful, brown fruity nectar with hints of apples and pear-like flavors. It was among the best beers served at the recent Brewgrass festival, which offered well over 100 different offerings. Taking it another level, the Flanders becomes extraordinary when blended with a bit of French Broad's stellar Cellar Reserve Lambic, itself one of the most unusual brews in town.

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

Beer

Firkin good beer.

The word “firkin” is not an appellation of another vulgar word used in the English language. It's a noun that describes a type of beer-conditioning and dispensing system that's been popular in Great Britain and Europe for centuries and is gaining rapid momentum here in Anchorage. Technically, a firkin is a British measuring unit equaling about a quarter of a barrel (about nine gallons), but the term commonly implies that the beer in the namesake container is cask-conditioned. This means that fermentation continues in the keg, even after distribution, so that the beer matures throughout the life of the keg. A patron can actually visit the pub at different times and the same beer will taste different.

A true firkin beer does not use external carbon dioxide pressure to push the beer from the keg. In some cases, a tap is driven directly through the top bung of the keg (which is on its side) and a special peg is driven through the side bung, positioned so it's on top of the keg. The peg is porous and allows air to replace the beer as it flows from the keg. A hand pump or beer engine is sometimes used to pull beer from the cask and replace it with air.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:07 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Southern Flounder

The commercials are still up in arms over the new flounder regs.

More than one who spoke recalled that when the commercial size limit increased from 11 inches to 13 inches several years ago, the fishermen were led to believe that would solve the population problems.

"When is enough, enough?" asked Jonathan Robinson, a commercial fisherman from Atlantic who is also a Carteret County commissioner. "There's a human side that I don't think a lot of people see."

Posted by Bigwig at 08:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

PETA

PETA wants you to stop eating fish.

Called the Fish Empathy Project, the campaign reflects a strategy shift by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals as it challenges a diet component widely viewed as nutritious and uncontroversial.

"No one would ever put a hook through a dog's or cat's mouth," said Bruce Friedrich, PETA's director of vegan outreach. "Once people start to understand that fish, although they come in different packaging, are just as intelligent, they'll stop eating them."

Even were I tempted to stop eating fish--much less catching them or cutting them up while they're still alive for bait--I wouldn't simply because PETA wants me too.

Posted by Bigwig at 08:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 15, 2004

Red Drum

Chumming for Red Drum.

The basic tactic is as simple as it gets; all you need is a cutting board and a sharp knife. Whack up the baits into 1-inch chunks and heave them over the side in areas where you have seen or caught reds on recent trips. Some of the better areas for chumming are likely to be outside points and oyster bars, as well as white sandholes in grassflats that get a lot of tidal flow. Sometimes you can also find them right along a channel edge, in areas that most people would never fish for reds. The only areas where chumming is unlikely to work are in protected backwater bays where the current just oozes in and out—without a good flow, the scent of the chum doesn’t travel far and your odds of attracting fish decline.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Beer

Celebration the season.

What makes Celebration Ale so special? It begins with a spectacular golden-cranberry color that sparkles like the height of the holidays. The proteins in its rich, ample body contribute to a big, luscious, long-lasting head that clings to the glass as the beer is consumed, creating residual lacework. And, with a hearty 6.8 percent alcohol by volume, it inspires holiday smiles a little more quickly than most other beers.

Mostly, though, Celebration Ale is distinguished by a lively aroma and complex flavors of cedar and pine that come from a generous dose of fresh hops. If it seems Celebration Ale changes from year to year, there's a good reason: It does.

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

License

If you're free Thursday mornin, pop over to the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh. The Joint Legislative Commission on Seafood and Aquaculture is holding an open meeting on implementing the saltwater fishing license.

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

Great White

Damn.

Posted by Bigwig at 07:52 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 14, 2004

Menhaden

The menhaden shortage in the Chesapeake has begun to affect stripers in other states.

Biologists have found that striped bass survival in Maryland and Virginia waters has declined since 1998, and between 25 and 40 percent of the striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay are infected with a potentially lethal bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium, not dangerous to humans.

The scientists also found that 70 to 80 percent of the stripers in the bay have no visible body fat and resemble fish that have not eaten in two months.

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

Nipplegate

I'm just happy to be here, and I had a few in the limo, so I'm not real cognizant of what's going on around me! Hi! Happy to be here!

Posted by Bigwig at 10:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thresher

New Virgina state record--a 525 pound Thresher shark, landed last weekend.

More on the monster here.

When the thresher hit, all bets on bluefish and sea bass were off. They pulled the anchor and all the other equipment.

"It was like a bunch of crazy people out there trying to get everything up and out of the way," Schuyler said.

"When he came up and jumped the first time, about half of his body came out of the water. At that point, we knew he was huge, but we still didn't know exactly what kind of shark it was."

Experience told them it was more than 200 pounds. When they saw the tail, they checked the record for thresher sharks.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 12, 2004

Pics

A thirteen pound flounder.

Posted by Bigwig at 02:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vodka

Cheap Vodka + A Brita Water Filter = Expensive vodka

The Method for this experiment was very simple, and enjoyable, except for the waiting parts.

We would simply pour the entire bottle of vodka through the filter, wait for it to drip through, and then funnel it back into the bottle for easy pouring. We then poured off small amounts into the shot glasses for tasting. Additionally, we had shot glasses full of the control vodka for comparison. Each scienticion would taste and smell the filtered vodka. They then ate a “science cracker” and sniffed some coffee, and then taste/smell the Ketel One. The recording scientician wrote down their reactions, and the entire process was repeated. Also recorded was the start and end time of the filtering process. We noted a loss of vodka through spillage (for my science homies).

Posted by Bigwig at 02:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 10, 2004

Mary Jane

Don't drink and drive. Toke up and drive.

"Cannabis will likely improve your driving," Marc Emery, president of the B.C. Marijuana Party, said yesterday. "Marijuana doesn't impair you in driving. People don't speed on pot. People go slower, they're more cautious. They're not in a rush to get to where they're going

Posted by Bigwig at 11:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Beer

Which country drinks the most beer?

No, not the Germans, nor is it us. Turns out that the Commies in Red China drink the most beer.

Makes sense. There's a bunch of them, and the what with the shortage of women, what else is there to do?

Update: When it comes to the women that are available, Chinese men may just be trying to keep up.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Menhaden

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, faced with the need to make a decision on the controversy over allegedly declining menhaden stocks in the Chesapeake bay, went out on a limb yesterday and called for more studies.

At a meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in New Hampshire yesterday, the Menhaden Management Board declined to cap the commercial menhaden fishery.

The board, which regulates the fishery up and down the East Coast, did call for extensive research on menhaden. That motion was sponsored by board member Pete Jensen, an associate deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

NC should watch out. Our menhaden stocks may be next.

Omega has a significant presence in Virginia, and captures millions of pounds of menhaden in Virginia's part of the bay and along North Carolina's coast.

Postscript: Gene Mueller points out that the has always been in the pocket of commercial fishing interests like Omega.

The ASMFC knows there is a problem with Atlantic menhaden stocks in the Chesapeake Bay, but it also is no secret that the ASMFC worries far more about commercial interests, its protests to the contrary notwithstanding.

The ASMFC is using a stock assessment that its own scientists admit cannot detect localized depletion in the bay. Says the CCA: "The other shortcoming of the Atlantic menhaden management plan is its inability to consider [the] menhaden's ecological role both as forage base for predators and as a filter feeder."

We wish the affected parties luck in resolving the problem. But don't get your hopes up.

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

November 09, 2004

Flounder

Think flounder regs in NC are bad? At least we're not Florida.

That’s where the similarities end. In Florida, recreational anglers may take a limit of 10 fish. Not so for commercials, who can gig, spear, cast net, beach or haul seine and hook and line as many flatties over 12 inches long as they can put in the box. Netters are allowed 50 pounds per person as incidental “bycatch” per Florida rules. Bycatch in this case refers to flounder taken while fishing with any gear other than that allowed while targeting a species other than flounder for which the use of such gear is allowed. Nine times out of ten this means shrimp trawls.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:55 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Driving The Ferry

Repairs to the Cherry Branch ferry terminal are expected to top $125,000.

"I am hoping on hope it will be Wednesday or Thursday," said Jerry Gaskill, N.C. Ferry Service director. "They've got the bulk of it done."

He said repairs included new 70-foot pilings and assorted welding as well as replacement of the landing. He said hydraulic and electrical work had yet to be completed.

Gaskill said repair costs are expected to exceed $125,000. The total cost of the wreck, in which the ferry captained by Roger Resora crashed into the landing at about seven knots with about 15 vehicles aboard, has yet to be determined because of damage claims to those vehicles

Posted by Bigwig at 10:53 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 08, 2004

Gill Netting

10 years after the gillnet ban went into affect in Florida, and the results are...well, no one really knows.

One of the commercial interests' main arguments was that restaurants and markets would be hurt by a limited supply of seafood, and the quality of the remaining product would plummet.

Recreational interests contended a net ban would renew depleted fisheries, creating a boon for tackle shops, fishing guides, boat dealerships and others — adding a valuable facet to Florida's already tourist-oriented industry.

The ban, of course, became reality in 1995, and 10 years later other factors — primarily a population boom — make it difficult to certify either side's claims.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Drinkin'

More on the hottest topic in Science--getting bees drunk.

To the surprise of no one, the bees receiving the most ethanol spent the least time grooming, walking or flying. Instead, they spent the most time flipped upside down on their backs.

It's hardly surprising that drunk bees lie on their backs with their legs up in the air. They're female, aren't they?

Posted by Bigwig at 10:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Beer

Coming soon to a bar near you: Mobius Infused Lager, the beer that gives you energy!

This one is brewed in Greenville by a company based on Sullivan's Island, and it's fortified with ginseng, caffeine, taurine (an amino acid) and thiamine (a B vitamin) to keep you mentally alert enough to appreciate the finer points of topology through round after round.

Mmmmm, thiamine--it's what I've always wanted in a beer.

Sounds like the perfect beer for next year's late night drum fishing.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Natural Light

Thank God I live in a country where teachers a paid a wage that allows them to obtain the basic necessities of life. Why, in Zimbabwe public school teachers must beg for their beer.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Whisky

WhiskyFest. $95 buys you 3.5 hours of liquor tasting.

Long rows of tables are staffed by the likes of Jim McEwan, the whisky maker at the Scottish distillery Bruichladdich, and Jimmy Bedford, distillery manager for Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey.

The fest includes a huge buffet, to moderate the effects of the spirits, and several seminars by whisky experts, such as Wild Turkey master distiller Jimmy Russell, for those who want a more educational break.

It'd be worth buying Dawg the $95 ticket just to watch him.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Striper time

It's never too early to start planning. Who's up for another striper trip this year? I had a good time last year, although frozen solid the first 24 hours. Just spent a few minutes trying to go back and search some fishing reports to find out when the stripes were in close hitting the beach. First two weeks of December seemed to have the best run around Oregon Inlet and Pea Island areas. Although that's really too early for me to go. I'd like to shoot for the 1st week of January this year. I am also not completely sold on Cape Point being the best location. Seems like more stripes are caught a little further north up around OI & Pea Island areas (at least the bigger blitzes). Based on last year's trip, having ocean front house is not a necessity for us and thus we can save a little money. I think we had 5 go last year. It be nice to get 8 of us and we could keep the cost under $100 per person w/no problems.

Who's up for freezing your ass off with me this year?

Update: Looks like the weekend of MLK holiday sounds the best. Same time we went last year. Tentative dates would be Jan 14th thru Jan 17th. Got bunker balls?

Posted by Mason at 04:27 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 07, 2004

Tuna

Fighting a 150 pound Yellowfin.

"During the first 30 seconds, I wanted to quit," he said. "This fish had just ripped off 1,000 yards of line. When it stopped, I was only able to bring the line in 6 inches at a time. I thought there was no way in hell that I'm going to get this fish to the boat."

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

Beer

Dances with wolves. Travels with Barley

"We are, absolutely, the best place ever in the history of the world, to drink beer."

Posted by Bigwig at 10:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Drinkin'

Ban smoking, sell less beer.

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

Yankee Fishin'

You can catch fish almost anywhere--even in Manhattan.

Of course, you might be taken for a terrorist.

Within minutes, we found bass right up against the seawall on the north end of Governors Island. George's first cast brought a 20-inch striped bass to the boat. His fishing had been limited to freshwater, so this spunky saltwater fish in a moving tide proved to be quite a thrill. Welch quickly hooked two more fish and was equally pleased. Such nonstop action, so quickly, seemed too good to last, and it was.

If it is true, as Robert Frost said, that "something there is that doesn't love a wall," I have found it equally true that something there is that will not allow a watchman to stand by while someone else is having a good time.

Sure enough, in short order, a uniformed fellow began pacing up and down the shore waving us away. At the same time, a Coast Guard boat, fitted with a no-nonsense machine gun, approached.

"Sorry, guys," the flak-vested Guardsman said, "but you know how things are these days."

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Pursuit Of Happiness

Louisiana is one of two states where "the freedom to hunt, fish and trap" is now a constitutional right.

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Fishin'

A survey of October fishing on the NC coast.

The trout will be in predictable places until the hard freezes of late December make it too miserable to be on the water. An old man who lives near Swan Quarter once told me the trout bite best when it is not fit for man nor beast to be on the water. Right now, the conditions are perfect for the fishermen and the fish. We plan to keep casting our grubs toward the bank.

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November 06, 2004

Birdin'

Feeding the pigeons is one thing. Feeding the pelicans is quite another.

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Southern Flounder

The struggle between commercial and recreational anglers over flounder limits isn't over yet.

State fisheries authorities will reconsider a plan to increase the commercial flounder size limit from 13 to 14 inches in inshore waters in a special session Nov. 15.

Marine Fisheries Commission member B.J. Copeland said he plans to put forth a motion to include the size limit increase and a Dec. 1 to Dec. 31 commercial season closure in a final draft of a Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan.

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Beer

It's that time of year again--holiday craft beer time.

Rather than being the product of expensive marketing campaigns and focus groups, the excitement is the natural, happy confluence of over-the-top brewers, willing to experiment with exotic tastes, and appreciative beer drinkers who are more than willing to give them a try.

When it clicks, when the suds leave their mark on our palates and our memories, a frantic wave of crowing erupts. First one to get a taste gets bragging rights.

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Red Drum

Fly-fishing for red drum on the flats.

My fly fell right where I aimed, a few inches in front of the fish’s nose. The water bulged, and when I strip-set the hook the morning’s serenity evaporated into frothing spray. Feeling vaguely guilty, I glanced over my shoulder at Lori only to see her fast to a redfish of her own. We were both working hard in the home of the Texas reds—the blue-collar bonefish.

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Plover

More on the court decision re-opening parts of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore previously set aside as piping plover habitat.

The issue centered on the federal agency’s response in July 2001 to a court order, when it announced that 165,211 acres along 1,798 miles of coastline in eight Southern states was critical habitat for wintering populations of piping plover.

But the designated habitat on the Outer Banks, the plaintiffs contended, duplicated existing management of the species by the National Park Service, which owns the land where the birds nest and feed within Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

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November 05, 2004

Tech

Why drive your boat when the fish-finder can do it for you?

He checked a preset ground-positioning system plot on his fish finder to make sure the unit tracked precisely up the deepest part of the channel six feet beneath his immaculate aluminum jet sled. Then he let go of the outboard's tiller. It swung back and forth, answering invisible radio signals connecting one side of the boat to the other through a satellite high in the atmosphere

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Pics

A rare Cubera Snapper. Big Sucker

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Rhincodon Typus

Spearfishing with a whale shark.

At the next rig, when they spotted the giant fish, they left their hunting apparatus on board. A few minutes later, like children, they had joined the dozens of other large fish in the whale shark's entourage. Men and fish took a leisurely swim together.

"He was hanging around 50 feet" below the surface, Turner said of the creature in waters about 130 feet deep.

"It was beautifully clear," Turner said. "He was just schooling around. His mouth was barely open. He was nonchalant, like he owned that spot. We all got close to him and touched him. He was never skittish. He would swim right up to you and look at you as if he were trying to figure out what you were."

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Beer

Lose weight, fart constantly. What better diet could there be?

A German chef has come up with his own version of the popular Atkins diet. His low-carb version consists of pork knuckles, sauerkraut and beer.

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Dipshits On Parade

Don't Drink and Detonate.

The former government militiaman brought out the grenade and started showing it off, pulling the pin while drinking with friends in the southern city late on Thursday, said city police chief Superintendent Ramon Ochotorena.

But he dropped the grenade causing it to detonate, killing himself and wounding eight of his companions, including a five-year-old child living in the house, the police chief said

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There's better ways to age your beer, lady.

A woman has been arrested for digging up her dead boyfriend's ashes from a cemetery more than 10 years ago and drinking the beer that was buried with him, possibly out of spite for his family, authorities say.

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Specks

Chesapeake Stripers might be in trouble, but the speck numbers are the best they've been in years.

The pair caught about 40 speckled trout between them during their six-hour trip. Most were under the 14-inch minimum size but a few were beefy, pushing 4 pounds.

The two rated the action as average for this season.

Compared to recent years, however, 40 fish in a morning is spectacular.

After a series of great seasons starting in the late 1980s and lasting into the mid-1990s, speckled trout populations crashed in the mid-Atlantic.

The probable culprit was a combination of poor spawns and harsh cold snaps that caused rapid and lethal drops in water temperatures of shallow inshore waters.

Recent good spawns and more temperate winters has the population in better shape.

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Fishin'

Every year, we pull a rig or two out of the surf. This is better.

One summer, while anchored at the jetties' end Dad felt pressure on his line. Thinking it was a blue crab eating his live shrimp he slowly reeled in his bait. To the amazement of all five of us he had hooked a fishing reel on the levelwind. As Dad reached into the salty Gulf to retrieve his catch the newfound rod began to bend. The fish that had jerked it out of some unlucky angler's boat was still on the hook. I netted the bull redfish for Dad and that old rod and reel remained in our family for almost 40 years.

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November 04, 2004

Natural Gas Ecology

Louisiana is still struggling with the liquid natural gas terminal issue.

The offshore terminals would use millions of gallons of Gulf water daily to heat the supercooled natural gas. The NOAA scientists warned that the water would contain millions of fish eggs and larvae, which would be killed by the rapid drop in temperature caused by heating the gas, as well as by the general banging around as the water swirls through a series of coiled pipes resembling a car radiator.

Other creatures nearby could die when the water is returned to the Gulf 10 to 20 degrees cooler than when it was removed.

Building several terminals in the same area would have the potential of wiping out commercially important fish in the Gulf, such as redfish and red snapper, the scientists said.

Instead, they recommend "closed" systems that would recirculate the same water. But gas officials say such a system in not as efficient and would cut their profits, perhaps to the point of not making the terminals worthwhile.

This is a pretty simple choice, to my mind. Either use a closed system, or don;t build the damn things. Anything that wipes out millions of organisms is too expensive ecologically to justify.

Butn if I were a betting man, I would bet that the open systems are the ones that end up getting built.

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Beer

The craft brewing industry is experiencing a golden age.

Gatza says sales from craft brewers in the United States surpassed $3.5 billion in 2003, the largest amount ever for an industry that has grown at a steady pace for 34 years. Craft beer sales grew 1.2 percent in 2001, 3.4 percent in 2002, and 3.4 percent again in 2003. Monthly sales figures for this year indicate continued growth of 2 to 14 percent.

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Snapper

Regulations work. Just ask the Gulf Coast Snapper fishermen.

There are more snapper mixed in at all depths than I remember in decades. The partial recovery of American red snapper numbers is a bright spot for marine conservationists.

Fifty years ago, there were offshore fishermen who disdained keeping grouper because red snapper were so plentiful. And even 30 years ago, you could venture offshore to target the reddish-pink food fish confident, with any luck, you would ice down five or 10. Then the bottom dropped out of the population, and for all practical purposes, the species was extinct in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

They are back, but only for the next few months, they are off limits to recreational fishermen thanks to sensible federal conservation measures.

And those federal regulations are all that is needed. Red snapper rarely can be found in state waters (no more than 10 miles offshore).

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Menhaden

The big Chesapeake Bay Stripers are nowhere to be found, and anglers are blaming the menhaden industry.

One thing is pretty obvious: If the fish from the ocean fail to show in catchable numbers the ongoing menhaden controversy will become more intense. Many fishermen, both sports and charter, believe the late fish are drawn to the bay in a chase for menhaden - and of late there have deep concerns about what they consider the commercial overcatch of menhaden in the Chesapeake by the Reedville, Va., fleet. I'm in their corner. Curtailments of the menhaden fleet are in order, and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission appears to be dragging feet in facing up to the issue.

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Fishermen 1, Birds 0

A federal judge has ruled against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying that the department does NOT have the authority to arbitrarily close the beaches on behalf off the Piping Plover.

Outer Banks sportfishing groups, and other parties, have prevailed in a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.Judge Roy C. Lambeth ruled in U.S. District Court in Washington on Monday "the Fish and Wildlife Service had insufficient grounds when it declared the Outer Banks of North Carolina to be `critical habitat' for the over-wintering population of the endangered Piping Plover."

Lambeth ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to restudy the matter.

Had the agency's declaration stood, it would have had the authority to close the beaches at Oregon Inlet, Cape Point at Buxton, Hatteras Inlet and Ocracoke Island to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

These sites are rated among the best on the East Coast for surf fishing.

Among those opposing the Fish and Wildlife Service plan were the Outer Banks Preservation Association, the N.C. Beach Buggy Association, the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club, the Cape Lookout Sportfishermen, the Ocracoke Civic Association and Hatteras Village Association.

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Votin'

Sadly, it was not to be.

Warren, a Farmville Democrat, had 75 percent of the vote with 10,939 tallies. Republican candidate Curt Hendrix of Greenville had 3,628 votes.

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November 02, 2004

night fishing for next year

O.K. guys, I know many of us say this every year, but for next year, Mason and I plan on reversing our fishing schedule. We saw too many citation drum caught at night not to give it a fair shot. We propose this: light fishing during the day with limited or no alcohol consumption, a quick trip back to the house for food, showers, etc., then hit the beach for a night of citation drum fishing and drinking. Sure, we have this plan every year, but if we are to be serious about why we go, then it is time to act. There is no reason other than alcohol induced fatigue that we cannot land a few citation drum in our group. We know the water, the bait, the technique, and the method for landing them, so let's get serious. It's time we get our pictures on the board with the asteriks beside our catches.

Posted by Kevin at 04:33 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack