Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Freakometer Screams for Ice Cream:
White Marlin Tourney Goes Worldly
Is it just me or is the world becoming weirder by the minute? It recently hit new heights on my freakometer -- via ice cream, much less! In fact, I’ve had my ice cream-worshipping realm rocked silly, via London and Tokyo. And there is even a very fishy angle amid the frozen freakiness.
It all began as I speed-surfed the web for news. I jammed on my mouse-clicking brakes after hitting a near unfathomable blurb centered on one of my musical indulgences, Lady Gaga. (In something of a late-midlife crisis, I’ve taken a hankerin’ for her -- and also Pink – though I still feel most secure by aging peacefully within the long-haired tendrils of my heavy-metal musical roots.)
But what could the always out-there Lady G have done to rock the ice cream realm? Well, steady yourself. Seems she’s immersed in a battle over Baby Gaga Mother’s Milk Ice Cream.
Fortunately, many of you have likely heard about this by now so you can’t pound your breast over me being tasteless in choosing column subject matter. Per trite sayings: love the trite saying: You can’t make this stuff up.
As we speak, Lady G is utterly enraged that she’s not getting any royalties from the sound-alike frozen mother’s milk confectionary being sold on the streets of London. It might be said she’s trying to milk the most from her trademark stage name.
First of all, screw the rhinestone-flinging outrage. Gaga will get over it. I’m stuck, knee-deep, in what the hell this mother’s milk ice cream is all about?
Seems it’s just as it sounds. A London firm is selling “rich and creamy” ice cream spiked with human mama milk. Its unspoken motto is “The Best of the Breast.” Unbeleivvably, it’s catching on. You now have what I imagine are attention-starved Brits casually strolling past Palace of Westminster, uh, nursing a big scoop of chocolate mother’s milk ice cream. At least I assume there’s a flavor regimen.
This is damn near apocalyptic to me: “And it shall come to pass that mother’s milk shall become cold and frozen and flavored with high-calorie sweeteners, yet even this shall not mark the end …” No, that might well come a little further down in this blog, when I get to the latest in Japanese ice cream.
As if the idea of a mama’s milk sundae isn’t enough to send a chill through me – and, I hate to say it, a surge of nausea – it turns out this British dessert de breast is being hyped as certified organic.
Oh, come on! You mean someone is constantly watching those milk-giving women to make sure don’t wander into a polluted place or down a few un-organic frozen bonbons while awaiting milking?
What’s worse, this entire concept is throwing me transcendental visions of vast herds of organically lactating mothers, all just sorta hanging happily, all day, within sunny flowery green pastures, waiting for the sun to set so they can sway homeward, in long snaking lines -- to gather in the breast milking barn. As a kid, I hated that stupid count-the-cows games played on long drives. Now …
And it seems this might become big business. Which begs the question: what kinda pay and benefits package does one receive as a mother’s breast milk farm employee, particularly the guy who hooks lactators up to milking machines? That’s simply an academic question on my part, mind you, as is: Does the medical plan include any dental?
I might note that in the dairy realm, a truly certified organic milk product requires the milking be done manually.
“Steady, girl. Easy now. No kicking. I know it’s cold at first. There ya go. And when you’re done, you’ll get some nice cocoa butter.”
No problem, Sheila.”
Let’s take a shot at naming the labor union Charlie belongs to.
So, no sooner do I begin recovering from the inconceivable concept of Baby Gaga Mother’s Milk Ice Cream, than a new mom here at The SandPaper tells me she’ll likely be making breast milk “Momsicles” for her little guy. Lest ye disbelieve, see www.mother-2-mother.com/momsicles.htm.
Upon hearing this, I went back to my office, closed the door, and tried to steady my world -- convinced all this is messin’ around where we shouldn’t be messin’ around. Ice cream is a sacred thing. OK, maybe breast milk is a tad important, too. I’m sorry but I’m just not ready to be a lactavist. I pulled out shortly after the bra-burning thing.
Fully discombobulated, I beat a hasty retreat back into the soothing realm of fishing. And don’t I run smack into a story about an utterly insane ice cream revolution going on in Japan – and bound for the streets of LA!
The Tokyo-based Kagawa Fishery Cooperative has apparently lost its seafood-slinging mind. It has gone batty, producing vats and vats of fish ice cream. (I’ve personally alerted Lady Gaga of this Asian frozen confection, in as much as Kagawa can be loosely anglicized into Gaga.)
On simply seeing headlines of this Asian ice cream craze, I fully figured it was simply some “fishy fun” ice cream – you know, normal ice cream shaped like, say, a tuna or Patagonian toothfish, something you special order from Carvel. But this Kagawa ice cream product is not only flavored with seafood essence and spices but the company overtly brags every bite of its ice cream contains “pieces” of real seafood meat.
So it really is seafood ice cream? I swear this is like hearing about Gummi Bears being made with actual bear meat.
The motivation for developing a seafood ice cream was purportedly an honorable thing, meant to help freeze a national crisis in its tracks. The seafood magnates within Kagawa were alarmed that their fellow Japanese, in their rush to Americanize to the points of obesity and nagging heart conditions, were flagrantly forsaking their onetime per capita seafood intake. What better way to draw Rising Sun folks back to their former syncopation with seafood than to add fish and things into an irresistible product, like ice cream? Its times like these that I realize just how unfamiliar I am with hearts, minds and taste buds of foreign nations.
Get this: Frickin’ fish and seafood ice cream is being voraciously scarfed down throughout all of Asia. Gobs of it are ingested daily. Even children are going, well, gaga over it.
It gets even fish freakier when you read down the available flavors, taken from the company’s product list. There’s yellowtail flounder, baby sardine, seaweed, octopus, crab and shrimp.
In a Japan Times article about Kagawa fish ice cream celebrating its tenth anniversary, company execs proudly announced they had managed to remove as much of the fishy smell as possible. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the human nostril system able to discern one part fishy smell amid something like an acre worth of fresh air? Imagine: A hot day, walking along, lapping a double scoop of seafood ice cream, the sweet smell of baby sardines wafting upward …
My heart goes out to kids in the future. Imagine playing on the beach and hearing the ice cream man’s bell, screamingly convincing mom and dad to cough up some money, then running across scalding hot dunes in rapt anticipation of sweetness only to find your choices range from flounder ice cream to Momsicles.
“And what can I get for you, little guy?’
“Uh, I think I’ll just pass.”
“No, hold on a minute. I’ll bet you’ll love this wasabe squid Icee.”
Kid takes off running. Never to eat ice cream again.
WHIT GOES IGFA: A big congrats to the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club. Its already-prestigious White Marlin Invitational has suddenly gotten cooler yet.
Beginning with this year’s 42nd Annual WMIT, the tourney officially becomes a qualifying event in the celebrated International Gamefish Association’s Offshore World Championship “Rolex” series. That’s big stuff. It’s essentially a coming of age for one of the nation’s top nonaffiliated events.
“It was just a perfect match,” said John Fitzgerald, who is directing this year’s WMIT with his wife, Nicole. Right now, the WMIT is scheduled between the Barbados International Fishing Tournament (03/18/2011 - 03/22/2011) and the
Bermuda Anglers Club International Light Tackle Tournament.
The IGFA connection requires strict adherence to its rules and regulations. No sweat there. BHM&TC has been playing under those strictest-of-strict rules and regulations for decades.
“We are the only major white marlin tournament that follows all IGFA rules -- and is a no ‘hook and hand’ tournament. If you bait up Mr. Whitey you are fighting the fish, which brings out some of the best white marlin fisherman on the East Coast,” said Fitzgerald.
Along with the prestige of being a qualifying World Series event, the overall winner of the WMIT gets to participate in the IGFA Offshore Championship. See http://www.igfaoffshorechampionship.com/. Interestingly, either the WMIT winning boat or even a single crewmember aboard that vessel can enter the IGFA World Championship event.
To mark the alliance of IGFA and WMIT, there will be cool IGFA banners at the BHM&TC’s clubhouse for the tourney weekend.
Per WMIT officials, this move to a big-time affiliation will not even remotely affect the contest’s close and friendly clubhouse atmosphere.
WMIT HOOKS INTO BIGGER WINNINGS: Along with the IGFA association, White Marlin Invitational 2011 will see some prize money upgrades that’ll easily make this tourney the hottest ever, dating back to the first tournament in 1970. The potential prize money has fast-forwarded from $583,000 to $773,000.
"Originally the winner was the angler who caught the most fish. The entry fee was $150 and the total prize money was $2000," said Fitzgerald.
That juicy jump in purse size elevates the contest into rarified air for what continues to proudly remain a small club event.
There will be a modest bump in entry fees, from $900 to $1,000, before July 1. After July 1, it goes up to $1,200. That is the first hike in the entry fee in a decade. You can register right up to the Captains’ Meeting, held this year on July 27 at 8 p.m.
Per usual, event organizers urge everyone to sign up early, not only to save some entry fee bucks but also to make it easier to work out the likes of dining logistics.
“It really helps to have early registrations. But, since this is a small boat event, many boats wait to the last minute to see what the weather is going to be like. It’s understandable, but makes it tougher,” said Fitzgerald.
Feeding the tourney troops will also take an upswing this year.
Skippers Seafood will make a return, handling “Raw Bar” duties, the way only Freddie Rebmann can do – after decades in the shellfish business.
The hot meal dining will also get a boost this year. The club is welcoming aboard Joey’s Pizza and Pasta. The famed eatery, on a “Hot List” as one of the Shore’s best Italian restaurants, already has a close tie to the BHM&TC, via Joey’s co owner and BHM&TC member Tom Kowal.
“Joey’s plans on doing what they do best: serving top quality food. The food will be awesome. We hope this can be a long-term relationship, said Fitzgerald.”
Some technical changes are also in place for this year’s content. A biggy will be the new 7 a.m. starting time. Previously, lines were loosed at 8 a.m. However, anglers had repeatedly voiced frustration over being out there watching prime “sun” go to waste while awaiting the 8 .a.m. starting gun. “That’s an important hour of fishing that shouldn’t go to waste,” said Fitzgerald. Committee boats announce fishing hours on a daily basis.
Another change of convenience is meant to help boats departing from venues further up north. For the first time, participating vessels are permitted to leave through Manasquan Inlet. However, boats leaving through Manasquan Inlet must bring weigh-ins through Great Egg Harbor, Atlantic City, Little Egg or Barnegat inlets.
Unchanged are the fishing grounds, limited to a 100-mile radius of Little Egg Whistle Buoy.
As with most offshore tournaments, no lines may be in the water until the event officially starts.
For all the details, go to the www.thewmit.com.
SPECIALTY PLATES FOR STRIPERS: There is investigative chatter over the prospect of selling a special NJ “Striped Bass” license plate -- to essentially sponsor any future costs accrued from a free saltwater angler registry.
I have been all too close to the specialty plates funding thing for many years now. Virtually every group I belong to gets a hand-raiser suggesting specialty plates are a slam-dunk fundraiser. Everyone oohs and aahs over the idea, while I moan over them – getting the floor.
It’s a long, winding and oft dead ended road to such specialty tag land. I’ve taken it.
First of all, selling folks on specialty tags is a lot like selling organization-based T-shirts. After an initial burst of interest (sales), a threshold is reached where all those hyped up enough to buy the product have gotten them. Then, that’s kinda it. End of the profit road.
Admittedly, in the case of the annually-renewed organizational specialty plates, a sizzling first run can mean some serious moola to start, with some plate fees running over $50. The renewal fees are more a token profit than a big-time take.
Now here’s nother real bugaboo. There are already so damn many specialty license plates – over 50 offered by the DMV -- that folks who chose them as a way to contribute to a cause already have organizational plates. So, when a new organizational plate arrives, folks unscrew the tags off an old cause and hang them on a new one. This is not just my opinion but also that of DMV officials. You’ve now essentially taken money from groups, like the Endangered and Nongame Species Program, and switched it over to some other group.
On the pro bass side, I believe many an angler would become a first-time organizational plate buyer if a striped bass license plate arises. There could be hundred, even thousands, willing to with a linesider symbol on their tags. While there are some numerous outdoorsy type specialty plates available, these would surely be the most angling-oriented tags. They could be fun to own.
That said, here’s an email from Sharon M. regarding other issues surrounding striped bass specialty plates.
“I don't have any objection to a dedicated saltwater registry license plate fund. My only concerns are1) the state is either discussing or may have already approved transitioning to stickers on license plates instead of fashioning a specialized plate which may diminish the value. $50 is a lot to spend for a sticker.2) each organization has to hammer out their own deal to get that money funneled back to them and the state doesn't always pay up readily. If our aim is to ensure administrative costs do not affect the fisheries research that justifies our quotas, we want to make sure this money doesn't wind up in some black hole.
These are details that should be considered prior to pursuing this. We should most certainly discuss this since we, as a club, did not want the Feds to get our saltwater registration fee. Now we should keep the money in the agency that can help us with ASMFC and NMFS. Sharon.”