BLOODWORM EXTENSIONS: Email question: “I’m a weekend surf warrior. I get down Fridays, load up on bait and don’t come up for air until it’s time to drive home at sunrise Monday morning. Fishing LBI is truly what keeps me sane and I maintain that sanity with your daily reports (http://jaymanntoday.ning.com/). My question has to do with the bait I buy each week. Any leftover bunker and clams I either freeze or throw out but I’m never sure what to do with those super expensive bloodworms. Is there a way to keep them alive for a whole week?”
Boy, is that a common question cast my way, likely a dozen times a year.
Wanting to hold onto those costly polychaetes is so common among anglers that I was thinking of developing some product to help extend the lives of bloodworms. I was going to name it “Extenze” but apparently some other worm growers already nabbed that moniker. Which is fine by me since the more I tried to find some marketable way to keep bloodies alive for more than a week, the more I realized I’d have to essentially create “mudflats in a box” – replete with changing saltwater tides and all kinds of sloshy marine invertebrates as food. Hell, there’s a better chance of Extenze actually working.
As oft noted in here, the big and juicy worms you buy at the shops already have a couple ring segments in the grave. Each tide they miss (after capture) is a meal missed – not to mention an essential hydration lost. Despite most bloodworms being on the shelves within a day or two of harvesting, they might sit another day or two waiting purchase by an angler. That out-of-mud impact is significant. Despite the overall wiggleiness of the boxed worms from the shop, they are clinging to life.
Long and short of it: No, there are no chemicals to pour on bloodworms – or magical words to say over them – that will extend their refrigerator shelf life. That said, a few boxed worms might last a week on their own in the fridge. If they didn’t make it, just hope your significant other isn’t the first to find the boxed aftermath.
Since we’re on the always-juicy subject of bloodworms, here’s the oddest angle you’ll ever read about them. Seems the word “bloodworm” is used “about 22 times out of a sample of 100 million words spoken or written in English. Its rank is based on over 700,000 words used in the English language,” per the Webster Online Dictionary. Since that national usage of the word bloodworm is kinda averaged out, I’m guessing I use up the word for millions of other fellow Americans. Makes me feel sorta useful.
Hey, in case you just happen to stagger into the company of highly polished people who might balk at the mere mention of something as vulgar as “blood” and/or “worms,” the French way to say bloodworm is ver de sang. Used in a NJ sentence: “Hey, Tony, toss me another one of those frickin’ ver de sangs – and grab me another Bud from the cooler. And make sure that undersized fluke stays hidden under the ice.”
WHY HANS CAN READ: Kids seem a tad not-bright? You might have sparred the fish and spoiled the child.
A Swedish study is offering some compelling evidence that a regular weekly intake of fish in one’s diet boosts brainpower, especially in teens.
The finding were published in the March issue of Acta Paediatrica, -- one of my personal favorite mags, along with Hooters and Ghost Hunters Weekly.
The published findings suggested that 15-year-old males who were fed fish at least once a week, had “higher cognitive skills at the age of 18 than those who ate it less frequently.”
A fish-laden diet appeared to also “increase combined, verbal and visuospatial intelligence scores by an average of 6 per cent,” per the study.
Eating fish at a once-a-week clip almost doubled the average score.
“We found a clear link between frequent fish consumption and higher scores when the teenagers ate fish at least once a week,” said Professor Kjell Toren of the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, western Sweden.
Why, exactly, eating fish fed directly into the brainpower of teens was unknown. Possibly the researchers hadn’t eaten quite enough fish when growing up. No one was interested in my hypothesis that fish doesn’t make kids smarter, meat makes them dumber. I also backed off that meaty theory after being advised in a midnight phone call that the American Meat Processors Association has massive amounts of equipment that can reduce opponents to mincemeat. Hey, did you ever wonder why nobody in the mafia or the International Brotherhood of Teamsters would eat hotdogs for years after Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance? No, it wasn’t because they were eating more fish.
SHIFTING OCEAN TEMPS, SHIFTING FISH: A recent U.N. report rehashes the entire global warming and how it is impacting ocean surface temperatures. Encapsulated, the report suggests that changing sea temps have fishes moving out of some areas and relocating in others. Of the planet’s 64 largest marine ecosystems, 61 show significant temperature increases over the past 25 years.
Truth be told, been there/heard that. But this report establishes an interesting, if not alarming, interplay between fish biomass shifts and the established fact that most nations of the world are overfishing, literally destroying, their marketable marine resources.
Since many neighboring nations basically share fish biomasses, shifts of fisheries due to ocean water changes could take from one nation and profit another. That looms ugly if a more conservational nation loses the stocks and a ravenous nation, hell-bent on destruction, gets the bounty – or what’s left of the bounty.
'The large majority of these ecosystems are shared by two or more countries, underscoring the need for regional cooperation to advance sustainable management,' Dr. Kenneth Sherman, director of the NOAA Large Marine Ecosystem program was quoted as saying. “The added stress of increasing sea surface temperatures makes it that much more important that nations cooperate to sustainably manage large marine ecosystems, the areas where most marine fisheries are produced and caught.”
Fat chance, unless the U.S. kicks the butts of uncooperative countries. I’m not talking a warlike kicking but a fiscal one whereby we cut trade with fish-slaughtering nations.
And why should the U.S. be such an overseer? Because we’re the only frickin’ country doing it right. And the above-mentioned U.N. report went way out of its way to announce that.
Whereas 70 percent of global fish stocks within vital marine zones are overexploited – to moronically overexploited – the U.S. is down to 23 percent of fishing stocks being overfished. What’s more, the mandates of the Magnuson-Stevens Act require that 23 percent to be down to zero within a few years. Imagine us playing the conservation game to a perfected degree only to have our hard-earned fishing stocks being driven into the waters of numbnut nations with no sense of species salvation?
Once again, the kick-butt solution might be the only route considering the stoppage of global warming is bit slow in coming.
RUNDOWN: How about that wanton water warm-up twixt Sunday and Monday? A light northeast wind ushered in a lens of 65-degree water, replacing surf temps that had dipped to the upper 40s – all but heart stopping any holiday folks who failed to look (at the water thermometer) before they leapt.
At the same time a veritable striper explosion took place up off IBSP, one that many LBI-based boaters cashed in on. Here’s the way I wrote it up in my daily update:
“Striper insanity alert: The waters off IBSP have gone gonzo with bass. Not surprisingly, that intense action is related to bunker pods having begun to show on the surface. Snag-and-drop techniques are producing big fish within no time after drop. Obviously a single opinion is not definitive but a fellow on the cell phone said it’s the greatest striper fishing he has ever seen. Talking with Basil at BL B&T – where weigh-ins are pouring in – some of those folks bringing in fish are also claiming all-time bass fishing. Bunker spoons and spreaders are also working well.”
How many anglers went to bed Monday with visions of stiperous tomorrows dancing in their heads -- only to awake before dawn to sounds of trashcans being kicked down the street by punked out winds pushing 20 mph. Tuesday was lousy, spitty and cold. However, could that wild bass bite on Monday have been the fish feeling the approaching wind switch and approaching crappiness?
As for surf bassing, it has been off – and on. Here’s an on-scene report form Joe H.
“Fished the south end surf over the weekend way after dark into the early morning hours. Despite seeing some fairish surf reports due to the cooling of the water, I did quite well. Saturday night I had stripers of 27,31, and 37". I kept the big one and it weighed 17/1. Sunday I had two more at 30 and 36". The bigger one was 17/2. My buddy had his biggest bass as well at 17/4. We named the spot "17lb. Alley".
Monday as it got quiet, I checked the same area before it got dark. Saw some small bunker pods and a guy land a massive striper about 75 yards offshore in a center console. It was over 40 lbs. That was the fish I was looking for.
I stayed in the area and tossed a bunker chunk. I caught a bass right away at 19/9. That fish was released unharmed since it won't place on the tourney board and I have some fillets in the freezer. I went to a popper as some fish showed and I had a long release on a 20-lber. He was going back anyway. Tons of sharks as well….”
Fluking since opening days has looked large – but slow. Shops from BL B&T to Scott’s had some serious doormats hit the scales. Roughly speaking, they caught were near inlets or well inside the bay. This makes sense when factoring in the downright winterish ocean water temps (some readings as low as 44 degrees). Top weigh-ins were anywhere from 6 pounds to pushing 10 pounds. I saw an interesting rundown at the BL B&T. Part of it, written by Bob M. read, “ … Mark Cornelius boated an 8 lb. 4 oz. doormat just hours into the season, and he caught it on a shad dart, believe it or not! The inlet yielded a couple real impressive fish as Tom Parr also boated a nice one at 9 lb. 8 oz. on a live herring. The area in front of Gulf Point near buoy 40 also saw some action as a couple 5 lb. fluke came in from over in that area, as well as some good fish taken around the High Bar Harbor cove….”
Possibly the brightest bite led to reports of good to excellent black seabass fishing. The Tires and similar nearshore structure areas, particularly the southern nearshore zones, are holding these big spawn-ready fish.
Bluefish continue to baffle. They are not out and about in any admirable numbers, oceanside. They are downright MIA in the backbay. I’ve put away my jerky spices due to lack of cocktail blue fillets to put up. Somewhat ironically, this bluefish no-show is taking place as NOAA's Fisheries Service reports to Congress that Atlantic bluefish stocks “have been rebuilt to allow for continued sustainable fishing.” In this instance, I have no doubt that NOAA is correct in loosing bluefish from “the list” of overexploited fish species. Blue are so cyclical that we might not see hide nor hair of them in the spring then get all but inundated by them in the fall. What’s more, we could have them present and accounted for all summer long, as happened a couple years back.
Simply Bassin’ 2009 now has four fish over 30 pounds and rapidly moving toward the 40-pound zone. Top bass is Robert Massa’s 36-9, taken in B.L. on bunker. For a detailed leaderboard go to www.fishlbi.com. Time and bait info is there upon.
There are still weeks to go in this tourney so sign up and bust into the $1,000 lead.
SKIMMER SPECTACLE: E-question: “ … I fished first time Monday for fluke in the bay, caught 5 fluke to 14" at the mouth of Oyster Creek … I (also) got to see some nice black skimmers up close. What a colorful bird and a funny shaped bill. I was told if they are flying full speed -- skimming the waters for minnows -- and hit a stick in the water their lower bills would dislocate then pop back in place. Have you heard this and if so are there other birds that can do this?”
I’m also a fan of skimmer spotting. They’re adroit and astoundingly accurate when responding to even the slightest touch of foodstuff on that lower bill. However, I don’t know about that “pop back in” beak thing. Sounds painful. “Oww, damn it! It’s out again, Emma. Come help me pop it back in.”
I know many birds have hinged beaks, coming together at a point called a commissure. But who gives rat’s patoot, right? However, far more patootious, the black skimmers is the only bird on this entire planet with a lower beak longer than the upper beak. It looks absurd but apparently the skimmers don’t mind the aesthetic ramifications, since such an under-bite makes skimming along that much easier.
It’s difficult to determine how this genetic trait developed but my guess is eons ago a young skimmer stuck out its lower beak just as joke and it was so funny all the other immature skimmers began doing it and before they knew it their faces just stuck that way – despite parental warnings, “You keeping making that face and it’ll freeze like that.”
(For some reason, I’m seldom invited to workshops devising credible theories on how animals evolved.)
By the by, you can’t believe all the beak types those wonderfully zany birding folks have categorized. Check it out on Google.
Note: I always treat bird people with fear and respect, having been among the millions of baby boomers permanently disheveled in the head by Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” I want no trouble from anyone who might have buddied up with birds of any species. Hell, even a pack of pitiless sparrows could rip an earlobe off if commanded to do so.
GRILL RIGHT TO LIVE RIGHT: I gotta turn deadly serious for an instant, as I pass on some downright troubling barbecue findings.
Disturbing data on grilled meat has arrived via researchers at Duke University Medical Center, where some sharpies have discovered a near irrefutable link between heavily BBQ-grilled foods and one of the ugliest of cancers, pancreatic.
Get this: people who regularly eat well-done grilled meat have a 60 percent greater chance of developing this formidable sickness. That percentage is up there.
"When you apply high temperature to any grilled meat, it breaks down the muscle proteins and creates a cancer-causing substance which can damage our DNA and genetic material. That can jump-start the cancer development process," said Denise Snyder, a nutrition researcher at the Duke School of Nursing.
The harsher side to this over-grilling hazard is how it likely also applies to pork, chicken and even fish.
However, if you’re a dyed-in-the-charcoal chef, don’t despair. You can still savor the outdoors essence exuded by grilled food. Here is DukeHealth.org’s suggestion for safe-ifying your BBQ cooking.
If you love the grilled flavor, throw more fruits and vegetables like peaches, zucchini and bell peppers on the grill, since those are your safest choices.
Shorten grill time by using a thermometer, microwaving your food first, and choosing thinner, leaner cuts of meat. Or make kabobs, which require less cooking.
Flip food frequently.
Line your grill with foil poked with holes to allow the fat to drip down. That, and avoiding smoke flare-ups, which also contain cancer-causing substances that coat the meat, will lessen your exposure.
Trim fat from meats before cooking
Marinating meats first has been shown to reduce the formation of cancer-causing substances.
Use the lowest temperature to cook your food thoroughly. Keep your grill rack as high as possible to keep far from the heat.
Finally, avoid processed meats such as hot dogs and sausages because grilled or not, they've been shown to increase cancer risk.