Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Wednesday, December 22, 2010: Well, it’s getting close to Christmas shopping time for me – give or take a day or two. At this time, I’d like to send out a super sincere thanks to the fine folks who d…

Wednesday, December 22, 2010: Well, it’s getting close to Christmas shopping time for me – give or take a day or

At this time, I’d like to send out a super sincere thanks to the fine folks who donated to this website. It essentially assured a 2011 run. Thanks again for your support.

I know there are loads of other columns out there now but I’m hoping this one offers a read that is well beyond the standardized “who caught what and where.”

Note: I’ve gone out of my way to tune down on exact hot-hooking locales. I do it simply to avoid hearing the insane and inane (male menopausal) bitching from those whiners who say
nobody should give even a hint at where anglers are fishing. The avoidance on
part is not out of fear but is in lieu of having to kick the asses of some of
the numbnuts who get aggressive when perpetuating that EF-ed up attitude. Yes,
over the years I’ve had a couple guys get into my face about it. My guess is
they won’t be doing that again.

But, hey, listen to me getting all riled up in this season of giving –and in the midst of me thanking my seemingly hyper-dedicated readership. My combined website hit count is
inconceivably high – well over one million hits. Read on gang – and definitely
keep the cards and letters, i.e. emails, coming.

Some of my favorite communiqués this past year have been skunk reports – and related emails thanking me for telling the skunkiness as it is. Also, I can’t even count the
number of SandPaper story ideas – and not all concerning angling and outdoors –
readers have passed on. Outstanding, A-Company. 

By the by, I ended up with 17 anglers wondering if the rod and reel combo found by a reader was theirs. I marvel at the number of lost setups, though I have to admit that virtually
every angler I talked to about lost gear said they had either lost an entire
setup overboard or grabbed one at the last possible instant. Oddly, I know of
only a very few anglers who have ever reeled one in. Being a boomer from the
Tarzan era, I envision the great rod and reel graveyard – right next to the
elephant graveyard with a trillion dollar in ivory. Oh, I almost forget, there
was no match (not even close) to the setup found by the doctor in Brant Beach.

EMAIL STRIKES A CORD: “Hi Jay.. and a very Merry Christmas to you and yours.. best of health..Thanks for all the passion you put into the site.. much appreciated.. Just wanted to
mention that I saw a seagull in my lagoon with a MANTIS SHRIMP.. doubt if he
caught it there.. but I am quite sure what it was (he ate it all!!).. This one
was barely 6" long... I saw one last winter that was closer to 8"...
wild.. thanks..bob.”

Blog response: Hey Bob. Season’s greeting back at ya.

Mantis shrimp are quite possibly the coolest marine creature we have hereabouts. I kid you not.

Firstly, they are not shrimp – not even close. And they’re even further from mantises (mantidae order), which are land-based creatures. Truth be told, they are stomatopods. Even if you think it’s academically uppity
to use aggravatingly archaic Latin terms for creatures – since we almost always
have perfectly good and utterly ambiguous common name – in this instance, you
either use the total misname, mantis shrimp, or impress neighbors and friends
with the only known accurate name, stomatopod.

Anyway, these locally fairly common marine creatures are true living fossils – far more so than many other creatures dubbed such. They are identical to Palaeo- and
archaeostomatopods dating back – mind-boggling number alert – 350 million
years, to the Mississippian subperiod. Talk about survivors. Volcanoes,
asteroid strikes, ice ages, cheese melts – they’ve persevered through it all.

But that’s not the full cool part of these creatures. It’s the colors they can assume – on command. I say take on because they’re very much like octopi, which can go from
bland and dully camouflaged to kinetically kaleidoscopic. However, I have seen
mantis shrimp pulsate with more “neon” glow than a pissed off jellyfish – and
utilizing full spectrum of color.

I first saw the light show of mantis shrimp in Hawaii, where I used to sneak in the water at night to underwater metal detect in Waikiki -- without the entire world watching me do
so. Sidebar: Some of the gold jewelry I used to find in Hawaiian waters, lost
by millions of wading tourists, was insane. Asians wear – and seemingly
routinely lose -- gold jewelry that makes American jewelry look paltry. In
fact, Asians look down their noses at mere 14K gold. They often wear 22K

Now, where the hell was I? Oh, those astounding sometimes glowing golden colored Hawaiian mantis shrimp. At night, I’d fan away sand looking for a detector reading and uncover huge
mantis shrimp burrows. One of the freakiest things I’ve ever seen after a
lifetime of being in the water was the perfectly round burrows of mantis shrimp
when the irritated creatures inside commenced to glowing to save their asses.
Here were these bottom holes and issuing outward in the darkness were beams of
intense color-changing neon-like light. It was spooky.

However, it was on LBI that I got up close and personal with mantic shrimp. I managed to dig up a couple small ones during blowout tides near mantis shrimp central – the end of
the Dike, High Bar Harbor. That fast-moving water is so loaded with mantis
shrimp that virtually any angle that regularly drifts there was foul hooked one
or more.

I placed my captured (small) mantis shrimp in 55-gallow aquariums – one to each aquarium.

When first placed inside they went color-change crazy. They quickly settled in and were quite likely the most aggressive creature I had ever kept in an aquarium. Nothing swimming or
crawling was safe from their grabbers. Unfortunately, they soon assumed a
fairly drab coloration, though I came in one night in the dark and one had gone
come out of the sand and had gone psychedelic, color-wise.

Only having three 55-gallon tanks, I simply couldn’t dedicate an entire tank to each mantis shrimp. Hell, they’d even go after fish five times their size. I released one and, eventually, the
other. I have no doubt they thrived and prospered.

I want to note that many folks eat them, as have I. When cooked, they obviously look a lot like lobster meat but that’s when their uniqueness shows. They have a flavor pretty much their own. I
really like it.

Word of warning: The large mantis shrimp can bite hard enough to bring an octagon fighter to tears. I got grabbed by just a small one in Hawaii – as I groped around in a hole for a metal
reading. I swear I thought I had lost half of my pointing finger. In reality,
it had grabbed my finger tip – and fingernail -- and latched on.

In humorous retrospect, I got grabbed while (snorkel) underwater metal detecting, midday, in the shallows of a people-packed Ala Moan Beach Park. Mainly locals hang there. When that
mantis shrimp grabbed me, I stood up and let out a scream that set beach babies
to hysterically crying for miles around. In fact, some nearby Hawaiians took
off running for their lives, convinced some haole (white person) had
gone berserk in the water and would surely be coming after them As big and bad
as Hawaiians are, they’re terrified of crazy people. The damn biter wouldn’t
let go so I frothed around in the shallows, yelling and pulling at my finger until
I ripped it off. When the pain had subsided, I looked toward the beach and was
met with literally thousands of shocked faces, all aimed directly at me. I feebly
held up my badly wounded finger as if you offer an at-a-distance excuse for my
outburst but the point was mute. So I shook my hand (very little blood), readjusted
my mask and snorkel, and slinked back into water. No way I was going to come
out until every last person on the beach had gone. 

Way more than you wanted to know about mantis
shrimp, but, hey, I’m on vacation and have all this stupid time on my hands. 

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