Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Full Moonings By Any Other Name;
Ruined Reels Need Insurance Hand
By JAY MANN | Feb 28, 2013
This week we’re lookin’ up at something called a Full Hunger Moon – I point out, while heading into the Chinese buffet. Last month, we witnessed an impressive Full Wolf Moon.
Those cool names arrive via Native Americans, including our very own Lenape. Full moons were real big things to those outdoorsy original locals.
January’s Full Wolf Moon was named for the typical seasonal baying of wolves and coyotes, spurred on by slim pickings on the predatory front.
The Full Hunger Moon of February was a time when even the Indians began to moan at the moon, as supplies ran out – and incessant squabbling erupted over whose bright idea it was to give up being nomadic. “You do realize we’d be in the tropics right about now, don’t you, Chief Sitting Stupid?”
Moon things traditionally took a turn toward way betterness by March. That was the time of the beloved Full Worm Moon.
(No, I’m not making up these moon monikers. Check the Farmer’s Almanac.)
That worm tag stems from some attentive, soil-based observations by Native Americans, famed for keeping an ear to the ground. While we tend to go with the robin arrival spring-thing, the observant Amerinds homed in on that which calls back the robins. The March Full Worm Moon beamed down upon the first earthworm castings, appearing after a thorough thaw.
April’s full moon had every tribe feeling its oats – and throwing out sundry moon names. For inland Indians, the big, bright, optimistic April moon was dubbed the Full Pink Moon, based on the blossoming of certain pinkish mosses and plants, like wild ground phlox.
Along the coast, April displayed the Full Fish Moon, based on shoals of shad moving upstream so thickly the Lenape could see them flashing in the moonlight. The full moon of April was also widely dubbed the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, for obvious reason.
May launched the Full Flower Moon, though the agriculturally inclined natives of NJ called it the Full Corn Planting Moon. Corn planting was done under those May moons. Such after-dark planting is still carried on by modern American farmers. Further inland, into cattle country, the May moon was the Full Milk Moon, when calving was in full bloom.
June’s Full Strawberry Moon meant the first harvestable fruit of the year. For syrupy tribes, it was also called the Full Sap Moon.
The Full Buck Moon of July shone on male deer, showing the first velvety signs of antlers budding out their foreheads. For more meteorologically-minded natives, July hosted the Full Thunder Moon, which also has a certain rock ’n roll feel to it, fostered by the Chief Springsteen tribe.
A very anglingish moon rose in August. It was known as the Full Sturgeon Moon. Even though saltwater fishing tribes created the name, it struck a cord with even landlocked folks, who had no idea what a sturgeon was but thought it just sounded cool to say.
With the maize fully ripened, September gave rise to the Full Corn Moon, or Full Harvest Moon. For coastal natives, the Thank God It’s Over Full Moon came much later.
Competing for the fan favorite among all full moons, October was alternately called the Full Hunter’s Moon, Full Harvest Moon and Full Blood Moon. This major moon was also nothing short of a partying moon, shining down upon any number of annual feasts – egged on by loads of game, fish and harvested goods. In fact, the famed Thanksgiving feast was an anachronism. By all standards, both native and European, it should have been held in the cornucopiaed month of October.
The partying moon gave way to an abiding edginess over fast-approaching times of frigidity. While the November moon was nonchalantly called the Frosty Full Moon, a more exacting title was the Full Beaver Moon. Its showing sparked the setting of traps to nab warmly essential beaver furs, prior to the first swamp freeze-outs. It was also the lunar times when beavers worked around the clock to shore up lodges.
The year ends with the Full Long Nights Moon or the Full Cold Moon. No matter how you named it, this brought a chilly end to full moon naming cycle. Nowadays, it might be called the Full SnowBird Moon.
SCHOLARLY MOONINGS: Now that I’ve offered the more colorful aspects of Native American moon culture, I feel compelled to offer some more academically profound data regarding full lunar displays.
It’s a little discussed fact that our Lenape have been credited with creating mooning. Yep, that kinda mooning, derrière-style.
Heavily peer-reviewed academic research places the first official mooning episodes as occurring during the reign of Chief Little Puddle, not one of the Lenape Nation’s more dominant figures, to be sure.
The emergence of mooning as a form of antagonistic expression seemingly paralleled the discovery and communal usage of dried moon moth cocoons, which offered moderately intoxicating effects when ingested. Although the exact name for moon moth cocoon dust has been lost to history, the dust was a tribal mainstay.
It was during this common-use phase of moon moth cocoon essence that younger braves apparently began to abuse the substance. So-called “cocoon rages” became commonplace. It was during just such a rage that mooning seemingly surfaced.
Despite some academic debate over the specifics of the first mooning, it is agreed it likely took place during a Full Buck Moon and surely centered on Chief Little Puddle.
Spoken Lenape history tells of the chief being startled awake in the middle of the night by a “load of young, cocoon-sloshed bucks,” running circles around his lodge, yelling insults and laughing hysterically. At the height of the circling, one of the more cocooned braves accidentally dropped his buckskin britches right in front of the chief. When the bare-bottomed brave bent over to pull them up, the other bucks saw it and thought this was just about funniest thing they had ever seen. In a flash, they all dropped their buckskins and aimed their moonlit derrieres toward the now terrified chief – who, at that moment, lived up to his name.
Through word and song, the moonlit mockery of the chief was regaled. The expressionmooning was born, though it was at first confined to doing so exclusively to Chief Little Puddle.
For many moons, there wasn’t a full moon that didn’t entail the gang mooning of the chief. By most archival indicators, Lenape moonings abruptly ended when Chief Little Puddle stepped down and was succeeded by his outsized son, Chief Kick Moon Ass. However, the legacy of mooning was ravenously adopted by arriving white men, who would carry it to world renown.
Remember, this is all documented – or, heretofore, should be.
BLAME THE TSUNAMI: This year’s king salmon run in the Pacific Northwest was three shades below abysmal.
To the dubious credit of the fishermen there, they brainstormed and came up with an ideal reason why fishing was so damn bad: tsunami debris.
A pox on the scientists who placed blame on lousy national/regional fishery management, i.e. overfishing.
But that debris blame-game offers an ingenious angle. Fishermen get to first blame that good-for-nothin’ thing called nature. But, better yet, they essentially get to blame another nation, one 5,500 miles away – not to mention one that just happens to be a pretty well to do place.
What’s more, those fishermen not only get to sidestep blame for decades of piss-poor fishing methods but – in a BP/Gulf vein – can now eyeball the possibility of seeking big-yen compensation for their salmon scarcity. Utterly brilliant.
Now, if those guys had only been even fractionally that bright when fishing, their livelihoods wouldn’t be floating belly-up.
Below: Tsunami debris in the Pacific.
WEATHER WATCH: It might just be me and my wobbliness over the fallout from this fall and winter but any fair weatheredness we now see sure doesn’t hang around very long. There is definitely the gun-shyness factor. Every approaching storm – even those on the far edge of the horizon – rears up on one forecast map or another. The weather folks are seemingly intent on covering every single computer forecast – and there are a slew of them.
Prior to Sandy, the more divergent computers weren’t even mentioned to the public at large. Now, if so much as a single computer hints at the possibility of sky drama, a declaration is made in the forecast. I guess it pays to note that there’s a one-in-a-million chance of a tiny Great Lakes low becoming a 1,000-year storm.
Along those same nervousy lines, I no longer trust the bay. I’m not the only one. Folks living on the edge – or on the sedge, as the case may be – are fully fretting over how easily bayside banks and bulkheads get compromised. Just a half-day of onshore wind now ushers in the overflows. Cedar Run/Dock Road, Stafford, is now something of a flood barometer.
I stick with my theory that the bay has shallowed so severely it all too easily exceeds itself. At the same time, the ocean beaches haven’t been showing excessive tides and such. It’s pretty much a bay thing.
I’m now keeping a wary eye, bayward – along with a few thousand other folks.
NEW CLUBHOUSE VOTING: The membership of the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club has voted to tear down the old clubhouse. It suffered wicked water damage at Sandy’s hands, being located in one of the most flood-prone locales on all of LBI.
The fairly famed locale, home to the fully famed White Marlin Invitational, was no spring chicken. Still, it took some soul searching by members to demo vintage things and start from thoroughly modern scratch. I had a vote but being a staunch vintage-ite, I just couldn’t pick between history lost and safety gained. I was born an abstainer.
From what I’m hearing, the demo is mere moments away. The new building won’t start until fall. If I read the law right, the new clubhouse must be placed on pilings. Admittedly, that’s not the worst call for such a bayside building – adjacent to a navigable deep-water channel.
There is still that (ugly) monstrous question about what the final height must be on any newly raised structure. I’m told August is the magic month when it comes to the final-est word on minimum height requirements.
Important: The 2013 White Marlin Invitational Tournament will positively happen – must happen. It’ll probably be held under tents – hopefully highly air-conditioned tents. Actually, the event has been partially tented for years, so it’s not much of stretch to have it fully sub-canvas.
I’ll keep you posted on other “open to the public” BHM&TC tournaments, once I get word if they’ll be happening.
REELING IN WRECKED REELS:
The reels are flooding in.
Tackle shops, like Fisherman’s HDQ, are getting crate loads of storm-compromised reels, including bank-breaking Internationals.
Personally, I lost bucket loads of reels, literally. Admittedly, these were reels I had set aside, destined for repair or auction. But, the value was still easily four-figures. And they’re surely gone for good.
Out of mere convenience, I had loaded dozens of reels into five-gallon plastic buckets, sans drilled holes in the bottom. Humped upon by Sandy, the buckets filled with bay water. The saltily submerged reels sat, in-bucket, for days. When I finally got to them, they were like drowned rats. I tried to resuscitate a few, via soaks in freshwater, but most of them had irreversibly flat-lined.
INSURANCE-Y RESCUE: For some savvy anglers/homeowners and charter boat captains, their tackle damages and loses were actually covered, even internationals.
Per Captain John K., a clause in many charter boat insurance policies not only covers the cost of tackle lost while aboard vessels but also covers equipment moved to other locales. In John’s case, he had moved his costly tackle to a garage for storage. I have no idea what the statute of limitations is – or whether it even exists – for such insurance coverage. You still might want to check, even now.
I’m also told that superstorm reel repair bargains are being offered by the likes of Penn Reels. Check with them. I’d strongly suggest contacting your gear’s manufacturers to see if, just maybe, they can help you out on cleaning up the superstorm’s tackle mess.
IT’S CALLED WHAT?!: There is a bit of chuckler in the insurance coverage thing. Some homeowners actually have the cost of their lost fishing gear fully covered. The highly chuckleable part comes from the very name of the insurance that covers the loss of suchmoveable items. It’s called a floater policy. I kid you not.
The floater part ostensibly refers to homey things that can go from one place to another, like artwork and such. If you have a floater policy – and they’re not expensive – you better check to see if reels are covered. Of course, the way many insurers are finding ways of wiggling out of payouts, it might take some squeaky wheeling to reel in the coverage.
By the by, there are many anglers who have still not gotten down to closely check seasonal homes, short of those “grab” sessions. In the coming milder weeks, many casters will finally perform in-depth look-sees on garaged tackle.
In a better late-than-never bit of advice, make sure to get flood-doused stuff into a freshwater soak, even if it has been many moons since the storm. Obviously, that rinse won’t cure a damn thing but it will put the brakes on decay and deterioration, allowing for a better professional diagnosis when you take the wounded stuff into shops to see what might be salvageable.
Obviously, most plugs and even some tackle might be nastily rusted. Get the hooks off, ASAP, then squirt rusted areas with Whink – quickly rinsing off after the rust magically disappears.