OILY FROGS AND SUPPLIMENTS: It was with extreme animation, bordering on lightheadedness, that I took a phone call about the recent wild and wooly meeting of the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Paris, France.
My excitation was over the fact that somebody would actually bother me over the frickin meeting of the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Paris, France.
First of all, I haven’t liked the French since I read where they don’t like me. Actually, I read that the French just don’t like Americans, but I ‘m pretty sure they mean me in particular.
And it’s just like the French to call a meeting about sore joints and name it after America’s beloved Congress.
But whadda expect from frogs?
Note: It really pisses off the French when you call them frogs. I didn’t start it. It’s something the British have tauntingly called the French for hundreds of years -- and the Brits still laugh hysterically over it to this day.
But get this: The French, in turn, (you of a European ilk know I’m not making this up) retaliate by calling the British Les Rosbifs.
You heard right. As a retort to the frog slur, the oui-oui folks came up with “the roast beefs.” I kid you not. Look it up on-line.
I picture the first olde-day Frenchman being called a frog by some passing Brits. And the way the little Frenchie guy stood there, confused and enraged, stuttering the only comeback that came to mind.
“I am not zee frog, you, you, you, Les Rosbifs.”
“Hello, what did he just call us?”
“It sounded like he called us roast beef.”
“What in blimey hell does that mean?”
“I don’t know, mate. I like roast beef.”
“Yeah, so do I. What’s his problem?”
“What’s your problem, ugly frogman on a fat lily pad!”
“Ha! What eze zure pro-blem you Les Rosbifs men on, uh, uh, a fat lily pad.”
“I say, that doesn’t even make any sense. Roast beef on a lily pad?”
This exchange only went on for a few minutes but it made slur-throwing history, the French thereafter committed to having Les Rosbifs as their life-size comeback to being called frogs.
By the by, the Frenchman who came up with Les Rosbifs was subsequently sent into exile to Elba and was forced to eat roast beef everyday – but still didn’t grow very much.
Enough historyization. Back to that France-based Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Paris, France.
My knee-jerk reaction to the international insult implied by the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism drained away after a long chuckle over the Les Rosbifs thing. In a calmer state of mind, I realized there was, in fact, a significant fish angle to that meeting. (See how things work out if you just stay calm -- and chuckle over other nationalities?)
It turns out the big news at that international meeting was the way fish oils grease up our joints.
In a fairly stunning finding, a Swedish researcher reported that oily fish are associated with a remarkable reduction in the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
No, you can’t just hang out with oily fish, you have to eat them, maybe a few times a week – providing the oily fish you hang out with don’t notice their diminishing numbers whenever you’re around.
So, this Scandinavian scientist gets up before congress to offer his fairly startling findings. However, since Swedes tend to speak Swedish -- listed among the planet’s 5 funniest languages to hear spoken -- nearly everyone in the audience began giggling before the scientist had barely finished his opening paragraph. The leaks of laughter slowed the Swede speaker down to a crawl. The Japanese attendees mistook this slow-speak as being a lead-in to some sort of language lesson. After every few words, the Rising Sunners tried to repeat the Swede’s words out loud. The entire audience, realizing this was turning into just about the funniest thing ever seen at a rheumatism meeting, joined the Japanese in trying to repeat the Swedish words. Even the Swede began getting into the swing of things and started orchestrating the crowd response with hand gestures and a left-then-right sway of his body.
At some point, the French organizer of the meeting walked in to find his darling congress all but rolling in the aisles, spewing broken Swedish. He began running up and down the long aisles, yelling something or other.
Since French, when being spewed forth by an enraged event organizer, is among the 5 funniest languages to hear yelled, the congress was thrown into even deeper hysterics, a few attendees even tailing the enraged organizer, trying to repeat his French screams.
(Hey, I got all these meeting details from a very reliable source in Britain. Hey, who wouldn’t trust a Les Rosbifs.
Somewhat sadly for the laugh-drunk attendees at the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Paris, France, someone figured out how to turn on the translating system. Grudgingly putting on headphones, everyone began hearing the fish oil report in his or her own language, though everyone kept glancing around to see if any more fun things to do might pop up.
Anyway, this fish oil news looms large for those us who have gone from checking out hip new joints for partying to checking out hip joint replacements.
Now, here’s the odd part about those Swedish fish findings. That research totally deflates the standing belief that concentrated fish oil in oral supplements can achieve the same juicy joint results as eating a load of seafood.
Get this: While there was upwards of a 30 percent decrease in rheumatism among people who ate goodly amounts of fish, those who popped fish-oil pills toward the same end had absolutely no discernable improvement in sidestepping the malady. (There goes my investment in Fish Capsules R Us.)
That compelling put-down of fish oil supplements opens a can of worms – and toxins.
It seems that the stuff that most staves off aching joints and such are
omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). And those are just off the top of my head.
The fish we eat to obtain these wonder nutrients do not produce any of them.
As nearly as scientist can figure, you have to go way down the eat-‘em-up ladder to find the source of the fishy molecular goodness that can make human bodies shine.
The goodness originates in microalgae, the super small stuff constantly being sucked in by what my most often call forage fish, i.e. bunker, herring, mullet, etc.
Now, short of the bunker oil biscuits I’ve been known to make, we seldom dine directly upon these little fish -- even though they’re are all but oozing in omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA.
Gamefish, on the other hand, scarf down these baitfish – and accompanying good molecular stuff -- as fast as they show up on the daily menu.
And there’s the noxious rub.
The so-called bioaccumulation of good stuff in gamefish is perfectly paralleled by the buildup of very bad stuff, like mercury, dioxin, PCBs and chlordane.
Remember those now questionable fish oil supplements? No dangerous chemicals in those capsules. However, this Swedish study has essentially nixed supplement sucking as a way to bypass the need to consume the good along with the bad.
It’s back to that maddening dilemma of eating fish for the amazing health benefits or nixing fish for the amazing health benefits.
Looks like I better dig up that recipe for mullet stew baked in microalgae broth. Yum.
SEEING IS BELIEVING: I had a call from a fellow who uses a submersible camera. I did a story on him a few years back. Now utilizing some of the best waterproof equipment, he has been seeing what’s beneath the bait pods, particularly on the bottom.
Somewhat surprisingly, down below it’s feast or famine, gamefish-wise.
I had long assumed that there were bass near all the pods -- but not always dining. Instead, it would seem that there bay not be enough bass to go around. “Most (bait) pods had nothing below them, from what we could see.”
But they could see the bass when they were down there. The waiting bass are often near or on the bottom, barely moving, just staring idly ahead.
The bass that are feeding seemingly hang higher up in the water column.
“I have yet to see a bass actually grab a bait,” he said, adding “I have seen them take-off (out of camera range) chasing something that was probably a bunker.”
He also noted something I’m very aware of from first-hand experience. Bluefish are fierce and efficient stalkers but not as crazed as you might expect. “They (bluefish) are very deliberate and do more of a corralling action. The confused baitfish will scatter and when one gets within the range of a bluefish the blue will make a fast spurt after it. ”
However, an individual bluefish will often quickly abandon its chase of a single baitfish, allowing another nearer blue to pick up the chase. It seems it’s often the cumulative affect of fleeing one blue after another that eventually tuckers out the baitfish. How often have we seen exhausted baitfish sucking air on the surface – right before sayonara?
I was a bit surprised to find that most underwater video cameras are dropped as purchased, looking very much like manmade thingies when they hit bottom. I would think that enclosing a camera inside a faux rock, made for aquariums duty, would make it far less intrusive. As for the accompanying cable, that could be wrapped with fake plastic plants and such.
PRIZED PLUG SAGA: Great story from a fellow who cast off a hyper-prized handmade surface plug. Hey, we’ve all done that cast-off think -- and immediately blame faulty line, even though a little detective work clearly indicates the plug broke away at the knot, as evidenced by the end of the line showing kinks and swirls where the knot once resided.
Anyway, this caster could barely see the cherished cast-off plug bobbing about in choppy water inside the sandbar. He commenced with that last-ditch cast-and-snag method we all utilize, whereby you cast another plug at the loose one out there a-floatin, hoping to override it for a snagging of the trebles of the two plugs.
While that method works maybe 50 percent of the time, it wasn’t about to work for this guy.
In something I refer to as the “ain’t that a bitch” principle, this fellow had gone days without a hit on his plugs and no sooner had he cast his retrieval plug out than it got royally blasted -- just as he was homing in on the lost one, much less.
“Here I finally had a big fish on and was totally bummed,” he told, adding ,“I was trying like anything just to get this big fish in while trying to keep an eye on the lost plug.”
It didn’t work; he totally lost sight of the cast-off plug.
Well, the culprit, so to speak, was a huge bluefish. “Man, was I bummed to see it was only a blue.”
Bite your tongue, friend.
It would turn out that once again, a despised blue would save the day.
This is the gospel truth (backed by a photo): When he finally got the blue in and was scrambling to get it off to go back to cast for the lost plug, he was almost foul-hooked by a plug stuck to the side of the blue. You guessed it. There was the wayward hand-carved plug dangling from the side of that blue.
And here’s why the bluefish was a hero. Had that been a scaly bass, there wouldn’t have been a chance of that plug foul-hooking its skin for a ride to the beach.
Yes, the bluefish was released with great care.
“I even told the blue how thankful I was as I released it. People heard me talking to the fish and thought I had lost my marbles.”
The plug is now permanently retired. “Something I should have done to begin with,” he said.
As for yet another big fish that got away – and took the works with them – here’s an email from my talented musician buddy Paul P.
Thursday evening I was on the beach with a with a friend who is not your avid fisherman!!! He fishes the beach about 2 times a year!!!! I have to bait his hook, cast the line and if he is lucky enough to catch a fish, unhook it and fillet it if its a keeper!!! You get the picture!!!! We fished for 2hrs on the outgoing tide without so much as a tap!!!!!!!! We were waiting for another friend who also doesn't fish very often. When he arrived he asked how we were doing and I told him we hadn't had a bite in 2hrs!!! He then asked me to help him put a weight on his rig. I put my rod in the spike (Which I Never do unless I'm putting bait on) and walked the 10 steps to him. I looked back to check my pole AND IT WAS GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $225.00 later I'll be buying a new outfit!!!!! I'm sure we will read about a guy who snags a 10FT Okuma rod with a 4500 Shimano Baitcaster reel with a big striper still attached!!!!!!! I was very sad to lose the rod but can't help to wonder what pulled it out to sea. I'm hoping it was a big ray and not the 30 to 40lb striper I was looking for!!!!!!!!!!!!! Paul”
RUN-DOWN: I’ll go to the big target first. That would (still) be striped bass.
The field of bass play is laid out and lined like a stadium awaiting a huge game.
On a daily basis, the nearshore waters await the players, with bunker laid out as far as the eye can see.
However, it’s a luck-of-the-draw search for the bait pods holding major fish down below. While no percentages are being bandied about, maybe one in 10 baitballs have accommodating gamefish lurking below.
I am tracking down the data behind a couple 50-pounders that hit the scales, brought in by boat anglers. I also had word of some decent plugging and jigging near the beach, early morn and right before closing (dusk). Ken Chew landed a 35-15 bass using a plug. I didn’t get word on what type plug – fishing folks follow (faithfully) which plugs are working.
A huge weakie, 15-pound range, was caught and released on the South End. I believe it was taken on a jig with GULP on-hook.
That unseasonably large weakfish tells me one of two things: it was a late-departing spawned-out model, or, just as likely, an arriving spawner for the far more subdued early summer spawn. That later-day spawn usually involves sparklers just into the sexual maturity realm. Those spawners will move out and eventually be replaced by the over-summering “spike” sparklers – a major component of summertime bay angling.
There are also weaks showing near Little Egg Inlet, both ocean and bay sides.
I heard a fascinating fluking tale regarding a drift along the west side of Holgate. Side-by-side boats, drifting with all thing equal, saw one boat boarding flatties well over 20 inches while the other boat had throwbacks and, at best, fluke to just 18 inches. The boat on the right was using the go-to minnow-squid combo (bounced along the bottom on celebrated fluke rigs) while the boat on the left was using ½-ounce lead jigheads graced only with GULP!. I can’t disclose the exact GULP! shape that was scoring so heavily since the forms Berkeley has given this artificially flavored material is so varied it comes down to knowing what look works best – something taking a load of time and experimentation to perfect.
Fluke fishing, on average, is good to very good. The numbers are surely there. A subtle switch to much larger baits seems to be the ticket to wheedle that extra inch into keeper range.
Sharks are positively in the system, adding credence to last-week’s shark suspicions, --which arose after fully dissected stripers were being reeled in by shocked surfcasters. This week, threshers are the main species at hand. These are an easy read, tail-wise.
I also have positive word of blues and makos in the mix, when going out to seas quite a ways.
No positive word yet on brown sharks, a local angling favorite for catch-and-release.
Please know your must-release sharks, including basking, whale, white, sand tiger, bigeye tiger.
SIMPLY BASSIN’ WIND DOWN: Down to the last 2 weeks of this great 8-week spring contest.
Another bassing regular has come on-leaderboard. Jay Endick needed every bit of his 33-11 striper to take over the 8th spot. He was the second leaderboarder who went live bunker to coax a major keeper. Jay’s cow came from the Beach Haven area.
You now need a bass over 33-11 (43”) to qualify.
Here the latest leaderboard into the final stretch:
1)Shawn Taylor 48-12 47 ¼”27”
2) Joe Filice 42-8 47”27”
3) Gene Slaughterm. 41-0 47 ½” 25 ½”
4) Jason DePalazzo . 38-13 44”26”
5) Cindy Thomas 38-11 48”24 ½”
6) Steve Warren . 37-12 45 ½”25”
7) Dante Soriente 36-14 45 ½”26”
8) Jay Endick 33-11 43”24”
Bump) Greg O’ Connell 31-8 43 ¼”23 ¼”