Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
My buddy is what I call a bugged out bug guy, taking his discipline to a whole other, non-doctorial level – freakily so, by the reckoning of most sane people. He has traveled the world getting up close and personal with insects, to the point of frequently dining upon same. To which I say, “You kiss your mother with that mouth?” He is also into what I call ground-up bug dust, as an untapped source of magically medicinal essences, potentially worth a king cockroach’s ransom.
Which brings us to Mr. Wang, a cockroach farmer of the highest order – Dictyoptera, as my bug buddy loves saying.
For Wang, there are tasty yuans (bucks) in a roach’s fast-food value. “You have to cook them twice, quickly, to get the bug’s truest flavor,” he explains, adding that a pinch of salt is then needed. Heaven forbid, you forget to salt your twice-fried cockroaches.
Far more entrepreneurially, there are massive roach bucks in the insect’s medicinal qualities, particularly when dried. Prices for medicine-grade dried roaches begin at $20 a pound. The bugs are crawling in profit – and I suppose they’re leaving behind those little, cylinder-shaped, gold nuggets.
Anyway, it’s believed that essence of certain Chinese roaches can do everything from heightening libido to treating burns to nutrifying cosmetics to scaring women out of kitchens. (I improvised that last one.)
“They really are a miracle drug,” Liu Yusheng, a professor at the Shandong Agricultural University, and the head of Shandong Province’s Insect Association, was quoted as saying. “They can cure a number of ailments and they work much faster than other medicine.”
Liu points out there are already various cockroach creams being used to treat burns and add kick to cosmetic facial masks. What’s more, a newly developed roach syrup is said to cure gastroenteritis, duodenal ulcers and pulmonary tuberculosis.
Then, the professor goes a bit too far down the traditional medicine path.
“China has the problem of an aging population, so we are trying to find new medicines for older people, and these are generally cheaper than Western medicine. …”
Oh, great, I can see what’s coming. When all us baby boomers overwhelm old peoples’ homes, they’re gonna medicate us with cockroaches.
Future police dispatch: “Respond to the Manahawkin Too Old for Anywhere Else Nursing Home, Route 72, for a disturbance in progress. The caller says a crazed patient is chasing the staff around threatening to shove palmetto bugs up everyone’s … and then the phone went dead.”
THE BIG ROACH HANDOFF: It’s the dual food and medicinal demand that keeps Wang’s 10 million-roach farms up and humming. However, production problems have suddenly begun crawling out of the woodwork. Amazingly, demand is easily outrunning supply.
Having mined cockroach gold for decades, Wang had long professed that a particular strain of cockroach, Eupolyphaga sinensis, found in the Guangdong Province of China, is the only roach worth a toke to the traditional Chinese medicine. “These are not the same roaches you see in your home – those are German cockroaches,” he advised.
It’s Wang’s belief that Guangdongian cockroaches are the planet’s only medicinally meritorious model that leads one to muse: There are 4,500 species of cockroach on the planet. How did the Chinese traditional medicine folks eliminate all the others?
My guess: For the longest time, the Chinese were hurting for employment opportunities – no longer, mind you. Hell, last year alone I paid half that nation’s electric bill through the “Made in China” products I’m now shanghaied into buying.
During the communism-inspired progress stoppage, out-of-work citizens would snap up any opportunity to make a few extra yuan. I’m betting a book could be written about the folks who were hired to test for any medicinal value gained from snorting the powder of thousands atop thousands of assorted cockroach species.
“Come in, Mr. Poo Drop. Please, sit down. OK, we’d like you to try a line of this ground-up powder from a Madagascar hissing cockroach. Here’s a straw … There, now. Feel anything?
“Yes … sick.”
“Ah, I fool you. That powder was from a placebo Madagascar hissing cockroach, made of just sugar.”
“Uh, it so happens I’m diabetic.”
“Oops, so sorry, Mr. Poo.”
But in the past year, the drama over dwindling supplies of Guangdong roaches has magically attracted Wang away from his Guangdong roach exclusivity – and into our backyards.
Lo and how convenient, Wang has suddenly discovered a medicinally gifted, totally juicy kind of cockroach cruising our shores. Just like that, his multimillion-dollar cockroach farms have switched to exclusively raising Periplaneta americana.
If that Latin rings a bell, it just might be the americana part. Even nearer and dearer to our hearts and pant legs is that specie’s more common name: palmetto bug, a.k.a. waterbug, further a.k.a., “Look at the size of that frickin cockroach!” bug.
If you’ve lived or visited anywhere from the Carolinas southward, you fully know of these ultra-mega-roaches. Bumping into a palmetto bug, you swing around and hiss, “Hey, buddy, watch where you’re goin’.” These are not small bugs.
I’m guessing it’s no coincidence that the resourceful Mr. Wang has found full-blown food and medicinal value in the only roach large enough to filet.
So, once again, Asia is showing us the shortsightedness of our business acumen. Not only is everything we buy from China but now, thanks to Wang, the Chinese have cornered the market on our, uh, beloved world’s largest cockroaches.
A LITTLE HAND HERE: Old Hank Heimlich, the maneuverer, would have been proud.
I just received a story about one of the oddest, anti-choking, life-saving efforts ever. It was carried out last week by a couple Canadian guys – who did not look and talk like Bob and Doug McKenzie, at least not all that much.
The two men became the talk of the Great White North when they rushed to manually assist a gasping, eight-foot, Greenland shark they found beached. The toothy fish was literally choking to death. Where’s a waiter when you need one, eh?
The thing that got me was what was choking the marooned fish, namely, a huge chunk of moose meat.
I’ve never even been to Canada but can now only assume that big chunks of moose meat flow freely up there.
One of the men, Derrick Chaulk, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that he came across the beached shark and quickly realized it had the moose meat chunk thoroughly lodged in its throat. Second on-scene, to lend a helping hand, was Jeremy Ball.
“The shark swallowed (the moose meat) and got it halfway down and couldn’t cough it back up and couldn’t get it all down, and then I think the tide brought him in,” Chaulk told the CBC.
As I first read the story, I had a feeling that dislodging a chunk of moose meat from the mouth of an eight-foot shark is not quite the same as reaching fingers into a tot’s mouth to pull out, say, a wad of rawhide. What’s that? I might be thinking of puppies, not babies? Whatever. I’m not sure what I would do in the above situation, though Heimlich does jump to mind.
Canadian Broadcast: “Before we get to the story of yet another woman injured after tripping on a chunk of moose meat, we go to Margaret Mackenzie on scene at what could have been a gruesome shark attack.
“Carter, it appears a man from Sheep’s Bottom, New Jersey, foolishly tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a huge, choking, Greenland shark and, although it worked wonderfully, the shark quickly realized its moose meat meal had been launched up onto the dry beach, and, in either anger or hunger, it swung around and began snapping at the Sheep’s Bottom man, who finally showed some good sense by grabbing a piece of moose meat he found floating nearby and jamming it into the shark’s mouth. The shark has now seemingly beached itself on a nearby beach where it looks as if a couple Canadian men have rushed up to it. More on this as it unfolds, Carter.”
Uninclined to hug a 250-pound shark, the two Canadian men instead hand-yanked the wedged meat chunk. “It just popped out,” said Chaulk.
After sloppy high-fives, the men pulled the shark into deeper water, aired up its gills and waved goodbye as it swam slowly off.
Famed for being a highly unappreciative species, the Greenland shark could only shake its head, mumbling, “I’m never going to live this s*** down.”
OUT AND ABOUT: Ouch! My fingers were in that fast-frozen state of mind while working the wind-blown, wind-chilled beach on Sunday, post-church.
I first got my chill on helping a couple mobile anglers dig out of a minor buggy bog down. A few shovels and a manual push got them rolling right again.
Soon after, I added a couple more layers of pain while casting plugs. The good news was the howling, plug-carrying, west wind was at my back. The bad news was the frickin’, freezing cold, howling, west wind was at my back.
I was a bit of an odd sight that day, looking the part of a Britainesque “gentleman angler.” I was casting plugs clad in my well-appointed Sunday suit and maid-polished dress shoes. Passing buggies, with folks who usually wave, simply stared over at me, all suspicious like. Tallyho.
Despite 30 mph, way-sub-freezing wind chills snapping sand around, there were a very goodly number of gents and ladies working the beaches Sunday, most within the anti-chill cocoons of their beach buggy’s cabin. The awful slowness of the surfcasting season sure hasn’t knocked the mick out of everyone.
Water temps are holding in the low 50s. That’s what we want now – after bemoaning the fact the water was too warm for too long. We don’t want the water to suddenly bottom out, sending schoolie bass away from the beach to hang within thermoclines farther offshore. Fall thermoclines are layers (lenses) of milder water trapped in the water column, closer toward the bottom. That layering can be strongest out in the EEZ, where you cannot keep stripers.
By the by, the USCG seems to be taking a more active role in checking on recreational boats for EEZ angling violations. It makes no never-mind if you legally caught bass in state waters. If you carry kept bass out into the EEZ, you’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’.
HOLGATE HAPPENINGS: I’m not sure if there are a load of seals working the Holgate Rip lately, or just a couple very active ones, but every time I’m down there I’m seeing pop-ups of harbor seal heads. Yes, their bodies are attached. We don’t allow seal hunting hereabouts.
I’ve been trying to get videos of the up-and-down seals but they’re shy and able to craftily avoid popping up where there are vehicles on the beach. On Saturday, I saw one seal surfacing very regularly as it cruised north to south along the Holgate front beach. Then, when it approached a stretch of beach where a slew of vehicles were parked, it went under and didn’t surface again until it was past the buggies. Pretty clever, the way it gauged the distance underwater.
I’ll have my seal videoing day yet. Check videos and outdoors reports atwww.jaymanntoday.ning.com.
RUNDOWN: We’re into the last week of the eight-week Long Beach Island Surf fishing Classic and despite a nice little run of weigh-in fish for this final stretch (ending Dec. 1), it remains a low-catch “Derby,” in both the bass and bluefish categories.
While the bass catch is inching past 40 fish – over half in the last 10 days – and into respectability territory, we might end the event with only one bluefish entrant. Point of comparison: In 1986, there were 2,066 blues entered.
I tried to stay philosophical about the slow-go stripering by repeatedly noting it wasn’t about the number of fish but who might be lucky enough to catch even one prizewinner. That laid-back thinking didn’t hold water for many/most fall anglers. Even those not in the Classic were mightily miffed over an inability to catch so much as a keeper bass – for eight weeks straight.
I at first enjoyed being asked why the bassing was so bad but it quickly got the dismal point where the best I could come up with was a concurrent downturn in the gross national product of Guyana – at which point the questioning ended abruptly. Maybe they got something against Guyana.
I saw a couple fellows who caught not one but two red drum, both as fat as these schoolie-sized drum get. They had been eating sand eels (stomach contents) and bit on clams. The two anglers also had a fat bass on legal proportions, but that had been taken on a teaser. They preferred I didn’t even hint at their names – I only use first name and last initial in most cases – since they now have every intention of playing hooky for this coming week (Monday and Tuesday). “This was our worst fall ever until today,” they said, wanting me to remind them how to blacken redfish and offering me a filet.
I guess I can use this “Rundown” point to address a highly visible absence of monarch butterflies. Believe it or not, many folks take this autumnal migration quite seriously. OK, so maybe I happen to be part of a national monarch butterfly tracking system. It doesn’t mean I’m a wuss. There happens to be a lotta gals in the group – not a bad thing during our Dress Like a Hot Monarch party