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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday July 16, 2010 -- Heat returns; crazy fishing for huge sharks

Friday, July 16, 2010: Waves: Diminishing 2- 2.5-foot short-period easterly swell. Winds have gotten brisk from the SE despite forecasted SW winds.

The soup is back. Though we won’t be pushing the 100-degree mark, this next wave of tropical torridness Maybe mid-90s) might feel like the worst heat-hit all summer. Humidity in approaching 80 percent and the sun factor will be through the roof. Winds shouldn’t be much to speak of, though I’m looking at the anemometer and its blowin’ pretty good out there. That’s plenty enough to make the Island feel a touch better, though air conditioning will be a must.

I often mention how my family easily got along without air conditioning clear through the Seventies. Then something went south, so to speak. Though there’s only a couple of us left here in SB, I know it’s not just a question of me getting older -- and not being able to take the heat. It’s just hotter than back in the day. Anyway, keep hydrated and sun-blocked. Expect fierce heat all weekend and well into the coming week.

Ocean water temps have dipped here and there. They range from upper 60s in upwelled eddies to upper 70s in most areas. The bay is ridiculously warm – upper 80s – and will heat further this weekend. That means fluke will be holed up in deeper channels. That should make them an easy target – though the comfort level for anglers might be out the window with bugginess mixed in during low-wind times. Inlets are the best first-stop for flatties. Go big to very big baits. Remember, a smaller fluke might grab a big bait but boy will it release it in a heartbeat when a jumbo model fluke decides it wants that exact same piece of meat. I used to see that in my saltwater aquarium. With the popularity of GULP!, folks are kinda restricted to package sizes.

The shark concern remains extremely high. However, there haven’t been that many reports of huge ones. Loads of browns seen in the surf. Some sightings on “sandies” even empties the waters up in Seaside. However, mark my words, there are some bruisers cruising out there, including the planet’s most dangerous breed: the bull shark.

I wonder what would happen if one of us were to take a huge rod – like those used on “River Monsters” -- and fling out a massive piece of meat, say a large tuna head from the canyons or a pig’s head -- rig is with steel and chain. I fully assure that bull sharks and the likes are not even remotely concerned about subtle presentations. Can you imagine the hubbub for the rest of the summer if we were to drag in a seven-foot bull or even great white? Hell, we’d have to get our interview looks on. Media from along the entire Eastern Seaboard would swarm. Of course, we’d then have to then go into protective custody to hide from the hit men the chamber will send. Truth be told, I think the announcement of sharks actually brings people swarming to the beaches.

Bluefishing is fair. It is complimenting the limited fluke filets.

Black seabass are hit-or-miss. Still, they offer a much-needed option to frustrating fluking.

A few triggerfish are in nearshore waters but there is virtually no way to target them, short of working structure or floating debris. They can be chummed up, using grass shrimp in areas where currents allow some dropage of the shrimp.

There are bass in the suds and near Barnegat Inlet. They are fully “resident” fish now. You won’t be having a heyday anywhere. Try jigging near jetties, using a white-on-white ¾-ounce jig, with white bucktail and medium-sized white plastic tail No need to use GULP! since this presentation will draw a hit based on visibility.

GO FISHING WITH ALO: BLI/Ship Bottom-based waterwatch (bay and ocean) group Alliance for a Living Ocean has an ongoing tournament running out of Oceanside Bait and Tackle Shop. I’ll be writing that up soon.

[Agence France Presse] July 16, 2010

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010 All rights reserved.

A monster tuna caught off Japan turned heads at a Tokyo fish market Friday, where the 445 kilogram (981 pound) bluefin -- the biggest caught here since 1986 -- sold for 3.2 million yen (36,700 dollars).

'Many of the people who work at the market have never seen a tuna that big,' said an official of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which runs the Tsukiji fish market, the world's biggest seafood market.

The fish, which was auctioned at 7,200 yen per kilogram, had already been gutted and cleaned of its gills, meaning it must have weighed more when it was caught off Nagasaki prefecture this week, the official said.

'It is extremely rare to see a tuna heavier than 400 kilograms,' he said.

The biggest Japanese tuna sold at Tsukiji was a 496-kilogram beast caught in April 1986 -- but the biggest tuna from the world's oceans to be sold here was a Canadian fish caught in 1995 weighing 497 kilograms.

Decades of overfishing have seen global tuna stocks crash, pushing some Western nations to call for a trade ban on endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Japan consumes three-quarters of the global bluefin catch, a highly prized sushi ingredient, known in Japan as 'kuro maguro' (black tuna) and dubbed by sushi connoisseurs as the 'black diamond' because of its scarcity.

A piece of 'otoro' or fatty underbelly can cost 2,000 yen (22 dollars) at high-end Tokyo restaurants.

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New York Times] By Campbell Robertson and Henry Funtain - July 16, 2010 - NEW ORLEANS, BP said Thursday that it had capped its hemorrhaging well, at least temporarily, marking the first time in 86 days that oil was not gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil stopped flowing around 2:25 p.m. when the last of several valves was closed on a cap at the top of the well, said Kent Wells, a senior vice president for BP.

The announcement came after a series of failed attempts to cap or contain the runaway well that tested the nation's patience. Mr. Wells emphasized that pressure tests were being conducted to determine the status of the well, which is now sealed like a soda bottle. BP and the government could decide to allow the oil to flow again and try to collect all of it; they could allow the oil to flow and, if tests show the well can withstand the pressure from the cap, close the well during hurricanes; or they could leave the well closed permanently.

The last option seems unlikely, but whatever the decision, the cap is an interim measure until a relief well can plug the leak for good.

''I am very pleased that there's no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico,'' Mr. Wells said, ''but we just started the test and I don't want to create a false sense of excitement.''

That was not much of a risk along the Gulf Coast, where countless livelihoods have been put in jeopardy and fishermen frequently and gloomily remark that Prince William Sound has never been the same since the Exxon Valdez disaster.

''It's like putting a Band-Aid on a dead man in my opinion,'' said Jeff Ussury, 48, who considers his days as a crabber over for good. He doubted the news of the capping was even true.

''I started out kind of believing in them,'' he said, ''but I don't believe in them at all anymore.''

Whether it was just the eye of the hurricane or the morning after the storm, the moment was a time to take stock of just how much damage had already been done since the deadly explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on the night of April 20.

For weeks, the BP spill camera -- which along with terms like ''top kill,'' ''containment dome'' and ''junk shot'' made up a growing list of phrases that many people wish they had never learned -- had shown a horrible chocolate plume of oil pouring upward from the broken blowout preventer, a symbol of government and corporate impotence. The plume has been a constant presence in the corner of TV screens, mocking reassurances from officials on the news programs who describe the latest attempt to stop the gushing.

But the view on Thursday afternoon was eerily tranquil, just the slate blue of the deep interspersed with small white particles floating across the screen. Though the exact amount of the oil that has poured out of the well may never be known, it was suddenly and for the first time a fixed amount. The disaster was, for a little while at least, finite.

At the White House, President Obama called the development a ''positive sign,'' though he cautioned that the operation was still in the testing phase. In statements, Louisiana officials, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, said they were ''cautiously optimistic.''

Officials at all levels played down expectations. Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who is coordinating the spill response, told reporters on Thursday that the cap was primarily meant to be used to shut the well during extreme weather.

''The intention of the capping stack was never to close in the well per se,'' he said. ''It creates the opportunity if we have the right pressure readings to shut in the well. It allows us to abandon the site if there is a hurricane.''

He said that after the test, the cap would be used to capture oil through surface ships -- two that are on the site now and two more that will be in operation in a week or two. With all four collection ships in place, BP could capture all of the oil, estimated at 35,000 to 60,000 barrels per day.

Mr. Wells cautioned that the test could take 48 hours or more, as scientists study pressure readings from the cap. If pressure rises and holds, that would be a sign that the casing -- the 13,000-foot string of pipe that lines the well bore -- is undamaged.

But if the pressure stays low or falls, that would suggest the well is damaged. In that case, Mr. Wells said, the test probably would be stopped well ahead of schedule, valves would be reopened and collection systems that had been shut down for the test would start again.

''Depending on what the test shows us, we may need to open this well back up,'' he said.

The test had been delayed by about two days, first when the government ordered a last-minute review of the procedure out of concern that, by allowing the buildup of pressure, the test itself might harm the well. A particular fear, experts said, was that it might cause a shallow blowout -- damaging the well lining close to the seabed, which could allow oil and gas to escape into the gulf outside the well, making the spill worse.

By Wednesday afternoon, those concerns had been allayed and preparations were made to begin the test. But late that night, a hydraulic leak was discovered in part of the choke valve equipment, and the test was scrubbed.

Thursday afternoon the test began again, first with the shutting down of pipes that funneled oil and gas to two surface ships.

In even the most optimistic case, the BP oil spill is far, far from over.

There are still millions of barrels of oil out in the gulf and months of work missing for fishermen and shrimpers; inestimable harm is still being inflicted on wildlife throughout the food chain; and anger still seethes along the Gulf coast.

''What's to celebrate?'' asked Kindra Arnesen, the wife of a shrimper from Plaquemines Parish, La., who has become a recognizable voice of outrage over the past two and a half months.

''My way of life's over, they've destroyed everything I know and love,'' she said, before going on to explain, in detail, why she believes the pressure tests are likely to fail.

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Grill safety: Don't let your summer go up in smoke

Each year fire departments are called to 7,900 fires started by grills, hibachis or barbecues resulting in more than $80 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Additionally, 18,600 people go to the ER for grilling-related injuries and burns, some fatal. Some of the fires are caused by faulty grills but most are the result of unsafe grilling practices.

Gas grills

Gas grills account for 80 percent of grill fires; a leak or break is the leading cause. Take these precautions:

•Be sure to position your grill at least 10 feet away from your house or any surrounding structures, as well as away from any nearby trees.

•Regularly check the fuel line for gas leaks; if you find one turn off the gas right away and do not use the grill until the leak is fixed.

•Never walk away from your grill when it's in use.

•Do not overfill the propane tank. In fact, it's illegal to fill a 20-pound propane tank more than 80 percent.

•Store propane tanks outdoors, in an upright position. Never store spare propane tanks near a grill.

•Keep the lid open when lighting a gas grill to prevent flash-off from collected gas.

•Keep your grill clean. Before you start grilling, check the burners for obstructions. Also, be sure to regularly clean your grill of fat, as excess fat buildup makes a grease fire more likely.

•Keep children and pets away from the grill by establishing a “safety zone” around the grill, within which children are not allowed.

Charcoal grills

While charcoal grills cause fewer fires they present a serious hazard from carbon monoxide poisoning, which claims at least 20 lives each year. To be safe:

•Always use a charcoal grill outside, period.

•Use starter fluid sparingly, and never add it to an open flame. Don't use any other flammable liquid to start a charcoal grill.

•Do not store the grill indoors immediately after it has been used. Even if the fire has been extinguished, the hot charcoal can continue to emit carbon monoxide.

In case of a fire

•For charcoal grills—close the grill lid.

•For propane grills—turn off the burners. If you can safely reach the tank valve, shut it off.

•If the fire involves the tank, leave it alone, evacuate the area and call the fire department.

•Never attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water. It will only cause the flames to flare up. Use an approved portable fire extinguisher.

•If there is any type of fire that either threatens your personal safety or endangers property, call 911.

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Check out the foot damage:

http://blogs.consumerreports.org/safety/2010/07/when-playgrounds-get-too-hot-for-tots.htm

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