Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Thursday, February 11, 2010:
I'm reading about not-far-off areas getting over a foot of snow. They can have it. We got a few inches when the rain turned over to moderate snow for maybe 5 hours before that low’s trailing cold front blew through.
What we have now is a total mess. Yesterday’s lengthy period of rain melted a lot of snow from the previous battering, leaving a deep layer of water below the remaining snow. I’d walk through deepish snow and suddenly be sloshing in near over-the-boot melt down below. Big huge glop tracks remained. That entire slushy mess has frozen solid over night. It’s a wintry slop out there, though a bit whiter with the new layer of fresh snow overriding the old snow, which has already started to get that old off-white been-around-too-long snow look. Obviously, it’s a bad a winter as we’ve had in decades – if not centuries, based on record snowfall. Going on old-time theories, we’re surely going to have a scalding, dry summer. What’s more, spring might actually arrive earlier than usual this year, though you’d be hard-pressed to convince anyone of that right about now.
It’s official. NOAA is freeing up a ton of black seabass after being advised by ASMFC. I had written about that possibility after sitting in on a ASMFC meeting last month. I was hopeful about the quantum change – after seabass fishery saw an emergency shutdown early last year. Still, there was serious uncertainty about NOAA’s acceptance of new (divergent) data indicating the stocks were way better than thought.
Here’s part of a recent RFA release, concerning the increase in the allowable take of seabass” The full release can be found at the RFA website.
“Four months after declaring an emergency six-month recreational closure on the black sea bass fishery, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) voted in favor of another emergency action, this time to increase the 2010 quota for black sea bass by nearly 61 percent. The good news for recreational anglers is that NOAA's action will expand the 2010 black sea bass season from being open only during the months of June and September as is currently slated; by how much, is yet to be determined. The bad news is that NOAA's decision does not affect the present closure, and the federal government has no intentions of opening the traditional fall and winter sea bass fishery in federal waters…”
RAPTOR BLOG: I got an interesting wildlife tale via a local angler who connected me with some folks who have had a resident peregrine falcon visiting them for years. The raptor actually nests near their home and has all but adopted the family, stopping by almost daily to sit on a favorite tree stump in their outback backyard. They do feed the bird, which really likes raw fish (no surprise) and also raw steak.
The raptor does not have a leg band, which came as a surprise to me. I have heard of exceptionally “friendly” peregrines, many landing right next to humans. Those are almost always rescued or even hand-raised birds that have essentially bonded with humans, primarily for the handouts they offer. Those wear aluminum leg bands.
We had a super human-liking falcon down Holgate way years back. The bird landed on my open truck door -- and did the same to a few other mobile surfcasters. It was not sick or disabled whatsoever. In fact, it was husky – and a tad intimidating. If you’ve never seen a raptors eyes close-up and personal, they have a foreboding and very penetrating stare that cannot be read. They’d make ideal poker players.
There is some literature that indicates peregrines are drawn to humanity, especially tall buildings. There are a few casinos in A.C. with resident nesting falcons. There are even some in NYC.
It is unadvisable to get into the hand-feeding thing with wild falcons. It’s borderline illegal. However, the folks I chatted with had nothing to do with the regular visits by their “resident” falcon. Yes, they got into feeding it. I would have done the exact same thing. It seems to be human nature. We’re not always real great with other humans but there’s often this inexorable urge to buddy up with wildlife. One of the largest pet-related industries in the world is bird seed (and such) for feeders. Estimates place bird feeding folks at nearly one-third of the U.S, population. That tally includes throwing bread outside, something my grandmother did daily, without fail, year’ round.By the by, it’s very tough to get a permit to keep a peregrine for falconry, though more and more states are allowing it, as the once endangered species makes an admirable recovery, despite their egg shells remaining way thinner than they should – the lingering effects of PCBs and other ugly chemical pollutants.