jaymanntoday

Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

TUESDAY A.M.: What a revoltin’ development this is. That was my William Bendix-like read on waking up to yet another heavily whitened morning.

(I know: Who the hell is William Bendix and why is he saying, “What a revoltin’ development this is?” Go ask your Grandmother, kid.) 

This winter continues to have its way with us, especially those of us in Ship Bottom. This last blow’round, SB got a larger dose of white stuff than surrounding towns. Maybe we sin more or something. It was pushing 6 inches in some in-borough locales. I took inch readings at a dozen points near my street. Just a tad north saw only three inches.

That wide variation in total inches between nearby towns has been very common this winter, as splotches of heavier snow hit one small zone and miss the next. My house has been a splotch magnet. In fact, I think I heard the entire snow amount from this latest storm just plop down all at once. Scared the crap out of my backyard rabbits.

This minorish storm also threw me a left field scare.

I’m not overly conversant in how to handle snowy conditions. That was proven out post-storm Tuesday morning. In my rush to work, I briskly broomed the snow from my truck windows, leaving what seemed little more than a small innocent snowdrift on the hood.

As I pulled onto the nicely plowed and cleaned Boulevard, that seemingly stagnant slope of hood snow took on a life of its own. It methodically began to peel off the hood and onto the windshield. With the sun blazing brightly above, I was suddenly the freaked out recipient of my own personalized blizzard. I literally hit whiteout conditions.

In a man-mentality move, I opted to accelerate -- you know, to blast that blotch of snow back to the Ice Age. Now I’m zipping along in the fast lane facing utter zero visibility.

As I do in all such pathetic situations, I wasted good breath by losing my standby utterance, “You can’t be serious!”

In a last ditch move, I put on my flashers and turned toward where I figured the Boulevard’s middle turning lane should be. At the same time, I lowered my side window, stuck my head out and extemporaneously fulfilled a lifelong dream of being a locomotive engineer, performing a fresh air left hand turn onto 16th Street. A fellow driving the other way on 16th gave me an odd look. Hey, nothing wrong with a little fresh air, dude. 

FACE THE VEGGIES: Not to get personal, but we sure are looking pale this winter. Yes, that parlor is all part of the winter pasty skin syndrome. It comes from primordial times when we had to hide from man-eating wooly mammoths by blending in with the snow. Or not.

Well, here’s some oddish news to help put some color back into those chalky cheeks.

Per scientists in Ireland – land of the rosy red cheeks on the little children -- your skin can become desirably a-glow even in the most sunless times. No, this isn’t about that “Tan in a Bottle” goop – the stuff people use to make quickly themselves look like they had just been in the tropics – but wind up looking like they were in some world nation where they contracted a rare skin disease. What the Euro-scientists documented was how you can bring peachiness to your face by downing loads of fruits and vegetables. In essence, you can use tomato paste to counter a pasty pallor. And it’s science saying this – famous for hot-looking folks.

I first read about the desirability of a glowy veggie-face in my latest issue of Evolution and Human Behavior magazine. Which is a reminder not to let your subscription run out.

Anyway, a very bright research team working at the Perception Lab at the University of St Andrews in Scotland essentially created a face-off between your skin after some heavy vegetarian eating and after lying under a tropical sun.

 “Most people in the West think that the best way to improve your skin color is to get a suntan,” said Dr Ian Stephen, lead researcher on the project and an ESRC post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol, “but our research shows that eating lots of fruit and vegetables is actually more effective.”

The team first assessed the skin color of people in relation to their diet. Those folks who glow better have a hyper-dose of carotenoids. That odd word might ring a bell with health minded folks since carotenoids are the yellow and red antioxidants that hike the immune system and spike fertility. Carotenoids are commonly found in fruit and vegetables such as yellow and red peppers, spinach, apricots, carrots and melons.

Early on, scientists recognized you look your finest in the face of a carotenoids cruise -- not after a Caribbean cruise.

To make sure their researching eyes weren’t deceiving them, Stephen’s team used off-the-street folks to skin pick. The volunteers were placed in front of a computer and shown 51 different faces. Each face could be computerized to show varying degrees of suntan and carotenoid coloring.  The viewers were asked to tweak the facial skin tones and point out the really hot ones. OK, so maybe it wasn’t the really hot ones, more like the really healthy looking ones.

Per the public at large, the skin attached to folks downing more fruit and vegetables a day was found most desirable. In fact, the carotenoid countenances ruled the visual desirability roost, easily beating out the bronzed St. Tropez look.

"We found that, given the choice between skin color caused by suntan and skin color caused by carotenoids, people preferred the carotenoid skin color," said Stephens, adding, "So if you want a healthier and more attractive skin color, you are better off eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables than lying in the sun."

However, the public preference for certain mug shots wasn’t fully scientific. In comes a spectrophotometer. The machine can tell how skin absorbs light from different parts of the spectrum. The researchers homed in on the exact dynamics of the skin that won the most-comely skin contest. Through graphs and charts, the stats showed that skin all but shined when egged on by the heavy consumption of fruits and veggies.  

The energetic scientists didn’t stop with looks alone. They went on to all but assure better luck with the opposite sex when your glow is, well, vegetable based.

“The bright yellow ornaments of birds demonstrate that the bearer has such a strong immune system and healthy reproductive system that he has plenty of these valuable antioxidant carotenoids left over to use in ornaments to advertise himself to females,” said Dr Stephen. “Our work suggests that the carotenoid coloration of human skin may represent a similar advertisement of health and fertility.”

Pervert.

OK, now let me see, I’ll take a dozen bell peppers, two bags of Left Coast carrots (to attract California girls), enough spinach to kill Popeye, dried apricots and a used eBay spectrophotometer.

I have to add an observational aside here. During my wondrous traveling days, I oft came into close contact with serious vegans and, uh, fruitans. I’m not talking your office variety types, who talk the big meatless talk then grab a quick ciggie on the side porch.

In Santa Barbara, there was a shop called Sunburst, run by fully committed (and in some cases committable ) communal types. They lived, breathed and oozed the bennies of dining solely on fruits, vegetables, herbs and random tree barks. To this day, I have never seen skin like theirs – primarily referencing the vim and vigor-y skin of the gals of that group. I hid my head in shame.

ANSWER LAND: This is a good week to catch up on some emails.

“I have a bunch of old plugs from my grandfather. I’m pretty sure they’re not rare. Is it worth refinishing them? I have a lot of experience with refinishing furniture so I think I could do it pretty easily. S.L.”

I’m hearing that thinking quite a bit lately, For a couple goodly reasons.

Firstly, plugs have gotten so collectible that you sure don’t want to risk totally destroying an older plug’s vintage value. I’ve seen catastrophic “rejuvenations” of older plugs lead to thousands of dollars in lost-forever value. I even read about the cleaning of brass blades and beads on an antique spinner reducing its value from the stratosphere to entry-level. With vintage artificials, even touching up can totally ruin its collectability. That’s how finicky that field of has gotten.

However, the photo you sent shows very common and very (ab)used plugs. That brings up the second reason why many anglers are pondering spruce-ups for their plugs: money.

Face it, the frickin’ cost to replace those battered Grandpappy plugs with new ones is frightening.

Sidebar: Serious casters all felt the rumble of commercial plugmakers as they stampeded to cash-in on the they’ll-pay-anything reality that was loosed by Yo-Zuri  in 1997 -- via GBS Distribution, LLC, and, now, Yo-Zuri America, Inc.

Though I’ve been told the tripling of plug prices in the last 15 years is the result of hikes in raw material costs, I clearly saw Yo-Zuris rattled the marketplace. The initial huffs of tackle shop owners -- swearing anglers would never pay money like that for a production plug – turned to smiles as the frickin’ things flew off the shelves.

This will surely catch me hell but I think Yo-Zuris are, at best, fair artificials – and that’s on a day when fish will hit spit. However, to its credit, the company did bring a certain highly polished look – a color and pizzazz -- that I depicted via my quote, “You don’t have to fool the fish you only have to fool the fishermen.” Yes, I invented that now worldwide saying. Go back and check.

Anyway, S.L., I’ve found that even battered wood and plastic plugs can be brought back to life – and look – through some clever and artistic refinishing. In fact, I can really relate to the way your furniture refinishing skills will translate into plug refurbishing. The rationale is simple: You try to restore and not recreate.

In the end, plug restoration always comes down to repainting. That gets especially tricky when trying to match a plug’s one-time look. That match-the-batch coloring is majorly tough. On the other hand, who knows what some new hue might do to ratchet up a plug’s attractiveness to fish.

Finally, there’s also the paint application factor. Nothing in the entire tackle realm looks worse than an over-thick coat of paint on a plug. A light brush – it gets no lighter than airbrush – makes the final difference. 

When you factor in the fun factor of saving a plug, then juxtaposition it with buying new ones, restoring oldies is a fun-and-profit pastime. By the by, there are now a number of folks who professionally renovate entire tackle boxes worth of artificials. 

SHACK SHOULDER-OUT?:

“Jay, I see you’re part of the Save the Shack effort. My question is how this will play into the new bridges I read will be built soon. Will the work bring the road closer to the Shack?”

Good one, eh? Got me as to where (and if-ever/when) the new Bridge/Causeway project  will hit the ground running. I will note that as recently as last week I heard the big-time Causeway re-do could begin within the next 2 years.

Regardless of a due date, there’s always room for the Shack, a lot like Jell-O – which, admittedly, is just about how wobbly the Shack stood up against the weekend’s 60 mph wind gusts.

As for the Shack holding its ground in the face of the pound-and-ground Causeway expansion – and it is defiantly an expansion -- I hearken back to that gal in A.C. who held out against an advacing casino giant and managed to keep her tiny house standing proud -- within a wrap-around casino.

Actually, I don’t know if that really happened or if the gal ended up 8 figures to the good but it inspires one to think in terms of fighting “the man,” even if the man is Mr. D. O. Transportation.

I will re-review the latest projections for the “new” Causeway to see how close it might come to bowling over the Shack. 

For a cool view of the Shack, check out www.savetheshack.com. Folks have long been willing to rally around the effort. Sign up and, most of all, send any old (before 1970) photos/images you might have. Emailing images is just fine.

“Hey Jay, my son and I were hiking on Sunday 2-13 and came across some large tracks in the sand that I could not identify. We were in the woods off 72 across from Fawn Lakes. Are there bears in the area and would they have been awake at this time of year? Thanks, Wes.”

Supposedly, NJ black bear don’t hibernate, though they’ll bed down during the coldest stints. However, odds are very slight there are any bear anywhere in Ocean County – though one never knows. In fact, the recent NJ bear hunt just might have caused northern  bears to scatter for all get-out. Still, odds aren’t great that the tracks you saw were bear.

A bear track is hard to mistake. Along with the large size, the separate toes are almost always highly discernable, set off from the primary foot pad. Each toe has a claw mark in front of it. There really nothing in NJ that resembles a bear track.

My main experience with a black bear was in the same Quail Fields I had written about in a recent blog. Just north of the tightly clustered fields are a few cleared zones that are just outside the closed off wildlife management area. Not that many years back, I biked to a rise looking downward across one of those outside fields and I clearly saw what I thought was an exceptionally large black bear -- that had obviously seen me and was hauling ass with the speed bears have become famous for.

I was on that bear’s tracks within 60 seconds. No, there wasn’t a prayer in the world that bear was still hanging nearby. The speed it was moving out I figured it was halfway back to Summit County by the time I had dismounted my bike. The tracks were exceptional, left in sand and even on some orange-ish road dirt of a nearby unpaved road. I had no camera with me, so I literally studied the tracks as if I was about to be grilled by a professor.

To show how large this bear track was, the width was easily as wide as the distance between my outstretched thumb and pinky. – the distance system used to measure horse height. The bear’s running motion expanded the tracks by a bit but that was still one awesome animal.

 

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