Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
The Fish Story
I got word that I gotta get way more hip if I want to expand my readership. That is troubling since my regular readers are generally more into hip replacements than being ass-kickin’ hip. But I still got me some game, so I went online for a crash course on inner-city hipness. Check it out, here’s a hip-ified write-up on a striped bass I took last week. Note: No gangstas were harmed making this segment. You feelin’ me, right?
BASS BE DEAD BUT DON’T BE LOOKIN’ AT ME, CUZ: I wanna tell my dead bass story, straight up. You know what I’m sayin’?
Here’s what happened, blood. I didn’t wake up just sayin’, “I’m gonna go kill a bass today.” You feelin’ me? I was just cruisin’, you know, bein’ real.
So, I go down the beach to chill. You know what I’m sayin?’ And I hook up with a good friend of mine. Can’t remember his name. And dude gives me this rod. You feelin’ me? So I say, “Whadup with this?” Dude says he’s gonna get coffee. You know what I’m sayin’? Dude leaves me hangin’ with the rod. Then my favorite cousin cruises up. I forget his name. He ax me to hold this lure that he just bought from some dude who got it from some other dude. You feelin’ me? Since he’s family, I figure it’s cool so I take the lure and cuz walks off. You know?
So, I’m standin’ there chillin’ and this bass just shows up. I figure, straight up, we’ll get to talkin’. But bass starts talkin’ s***. Know what I’m sayin’? He say, “What you lookin’ at?” I say, “No, what you lookin’ at?” You feelin’ me? Den the bass say, “No, what you lookin’ at?” You feelin’ me? So I say, “No, what you lookin’ at?”
Then bass rise up like he’s gonna do somethin’. He say, “Gimme that lure.” I say, “Whadda ya, trippin’?” He say, “No, you da one trippin’.” I say, “No, you da one trippin’.” You know what I’m sayin’?
Then dude come back with da coffee. You know what I’m sayin’? And bass start talkin’ s*** at him. You feelin’ me? Dude say, “What, you trippin,’ fish?” Bass say, “No, youtrippin’.” Dude puts down his coffee and say, “No, you da one trippin,’ snake.”
Then cuz comes back with some coffee and bass gets all up in his grill. You feelin’ me? Cuz says, “What, this bass trippin’ or what?” Bass says, “No, you da one trippin’, homey.” Cuz get real pissed and say, “No, you da one trippin’.”
But cuz ain’t takin’ that s***. You know what I’m sayin’? He tell bass, “Get outta my face before I bust your lip.” Bass say, “You don’t wanna scrap with me, homey.” Cuz say, “You ’bout to get yo ass jacked by a real thug, fish breath.”
I bust in and warn cuz, “Bedda not. You on parole, man.” You feelin’ me, cuz? I mean, I got priors, too. You know what I’m sayin’?
Then the bass and cuz commence to scufflin’. Even dude jumps in. You know what I’m sayin’? Then somehow the lure just goes off. I hear, Boom! Boom! Bass hits the beach. Sucker ain’t movin’. You feelin’ me?
So, dudes take off runnin’. I’m just standin’ there lookin’ at the dead bass – and all that coffee. That’s when 5-0 shows up with tazers and s*** and see the bass just lyin’ there. They wanna know what happened to the bass. I tell ’em a couple dudes I ain’t never seen before lured him in, then let loose on him. Cops try ’n’ say I did it. Soze I say, “Y’all must be trippin’. I didn’t kill no bass. I was at my girlfriend’s house across town.” You know what I’m sayin’? They finally back off but ax for my saltwater registration. I tell ’em I didn’t have it on me. Soze they warn me to get it next time. Then they spy the coffee cups and write me up for litterin’. You better believe homies gonna help me pay for that charge.
(So, that’s my hip version of the gangsta bass I caught last week. I have to admit, I feel hip already – with a little thigh thrown in for good measure.)
ANOTHER FEARFUL CALL FOR HELP: I got an interesting call from a gal regarding her recent fear of deer.
Last fall, while out hanging laundry, she was charged and knocked off her feet by a bully buck. The big whitetail had long been a seemingly friendly fixture in a semi-mowed grassy field next to her rustic home.
Her bowl-over didn’t surprise me. I tried to explain the utter unpredictability of a buck during rut, i.e. mating season. I even offered the spiel about a young buck’s territorial rudeness and ruttiness, as he tries to make a neighborhood name for himself.
Territoriality was surely behind the deer suddenly challenging her. I emphasized the wordchallenging, since the large whitetail had simply done a bowl-by, quickly moving off afterward. If he had seen her as a full-blown competitor, there would have been hoof and antler hell to pay.
Many YouTube videos and news articles report enraged bucks doing potentially lethal damage to human targets. Nationwide, the exact number of deer attacks is unknown since most folks, including this very privative gal, never report such fracases. When deer attacks are reported, they often have accompanying ER reports.
Whitetails gone wild are sometimes called “kamikaze deer.” If you’ve seen videos of them crazily busting through glass windows and into bars, banks or homes, that name is well applied. Experts claim it is often bucks unwittingly attacking their own reflections in glass that leads to their seemingly performing home invasions. Maybe so, but I’ve seen does getting in on the fun. In fact, one videoed incident shows a small, window-crashing doe emptying an entire bar of no-longer-macho male patrons.
So, I tried to convince this deer-intimidated homeowner that this isn’t the prime deer-attack season. Most of the deer she is now anxiously eying are females or yearlings. They are generally calmer than male deer. However, there is a rub to the docile doe rule of thumb. When a doe has its fawn nearby, she’ll respond to its cries – which sound a bit like a high-pitched baby shriek – with a hell-hath-no-fury intensity. She’ll take on any apparent foe.
Tragically for all us dog lovers, this time of year can be deadly for man’s best friend – and a deer’s worst enemy. While an enraged mamma deer might simply feign-charge humans, just to distract them, bring a dog on scene and lethal hell breaks loose. Many videos show female deer unmercifully kicking often unsuspecting dogs – even when humans step in and begin hitting said deer with the likes of brooms and shovels.
Advice: Anyone with deer hanging nearby, i.e. everyone on the mainland, keep Rover on a tight leash for many weeks to come.
EYE-TO-EYE WITH AN ASS-KICKIN’: The closest I’ve ever come to doe wrath was just last year when taking a photo of a Bambi that had curled among pine needles to await mom’s return. Instinctively, fawns hold perfectly still. I got my shot without overly freaking the fawn, though it did eventually rise to the occasion, albeit on wobbly legs. That was my exit cue.
As I was discreetly backing away, I got that being-watched sensation. Sure enough, there was mom lurking to my left, standing amid the laurel, well within charging distance – and I’m not talking MasterCard here. She was issuing a willing-to-attack glare. I resorted to a smiling “That’s OK, momma. I’m not hurting the little one. And have a nice day.”
By the by, I was once told by an Alaskan outdoorsman that calmly and rhythmically talking to a dangerous animal can, in fact, soften a potentially gnarly confrontation. He said he had even used that method with huge grizzly bears. I fully agreed … as if. Incongruously, he was telling me this story on a North Shore beach in Hawaii. Waxing my surfboard, it was easy for me to act like I would effortlessly schmooze with an enraged, 800-pound grizzly. In reality, I wouldn’t even try that with a stuffed grizzly, except maybe with a .45 caliber pistol in hand.
“What the hell!? Ya just frickin’ shot my stuffed grizzly?!”
“Uh, I tried talkin’ to it, but then it made this sudden move …”
“Move!? Get outta here, ya weirdo!”
And I wonder why I seldom get invited back to places.
A NICOTINE FIT FOR A DEER: Of course, I can’t get through any subject without coming across “the weird side.”
Here’s a beaut of deer tale out of Whitehouse, Texas. A news story on KETK NBC reports Joseph Rose and Cole Kellis were leaving their home when they noticed a deer in their front yard. No big deal. Plenty o’ deer in the Lone Star State – and they run huge, Texas-style.
Per something I might do, the men walked over to the deer, just to shoot the breeze, maybe share a tobacco chew. (That’ll make more sense in a minute.)
Sure, you can readily guess what happened next, as the deer charged the men like some Pamplona bull. The two men did the Texas high-step toward Rose’s truck. Kellis went headfirst into the truck’s bed while Rose jumped into the driver’s seat. Problem was Rose was running a step too late to close the door. The deer power-rammed his snout into the man’s ribs. That was message enough for a suddenly rousted Rose. He, too, jumped into the truck’s bed.
Nothing overly weird, right? Keep watchin’ as the deer, fresh off its ousting of Rose, nonchalantly climbs through the open driver’s side door and gets far enough inside to take Rose’s pack of cigarettes from the console.
Hey, don’t gimme any crap. This is all fully documented.
Now, we’re into downtown Freakyville, right? Oh, but far be it from humans to be out-freakafied by an animal. Doesn’t bed-hidden Rose suddenly take offense over the daring ciggy theft. The man jumps out of the truck bed and, well, here’s the very words of the KETK reporter: “The deer started eating Rose’s smokes, and when Rose tried to get them back, Rose says the deer got more aggressive.”
You know, I stayed in Dallas once. The folks I stayed with were newbies to the Lone Star State but warned me, repeatedly, “People down here are nice but can be really weird.” How prophetic. I can even picture myself being there and glancing out the window to see a man furiously duking it out with a deer over a pack of cigarettes that the deer is chewing for all it’s worth.
“You know, Bob, I appreciate you having me here and all, but I think I’m gonna head out now, maybe drive nonstop back to Jersey – or farther.”
SIMPLY BASSIN’ IS A-HAPPENIN’: It’s once again time to join what has become an event hoisting the largest stripers of the year.
Simply Bassin’ is back – celebrating its 13th year. It will begin on Saturday, May 3, at midnight. It ends on Sunday, June 29, at 6 p.m. Yep, eight weeks of rockin’ bass rivalry for a paltry $20 entry fee. It’s a steal for spring striperists.
Based on happenstance and hearsay, the arriving striper season might just rock the rocks and sizzle the sands. There’s this feel that wicked winters mean wicked-good bassing come spring. Crap, I’m sounding like a freakin’ New Englander with wicked-this andwicked-that.
If you’re not familiar with this vernal event, it is a low-impact tourney. There are eight slots on the leaderboard, for the eight largest bass. Once those eight slots are filled – usually early on – then only contending fish, larger than the eighth-place bass, can be entered. If the eighth largest fish is, say, 22 pounds, no smaller fish need apply. And some big bass have applied. We’ve had years when 40- and even 50-pounders have ruled the money roost.
Not only is Simply Bassin’ a perfect way to launch into bassing 2014, but I also get a great read when writing about what’s being caught and where. That’s often hard to do this time of year.
I’ll be the first to admit this spring fling for stripers looms very large. We haven’t been mugging bigger bass in recent years. Hopefully, we’re just sorely overdue. In a worst-case scenario way of thinking, there might also be a worrisome decline in cows. That somber thinking is now being bandied about at the management level.
Not for nothin’, but I’m not buying the bass crisis hoopla – at least not hook, line and sinker. We have enough bass out there that, if properly trained, could attack any number of island nations.
Is there a decline in bigger and better bass? Yes, no and maybe. We’ve only broken world and state striper records over the last few years. Hmmm. Do I fret over the winter take of recreational bass just to our south Delmarva states? Oh, yes.
But, if we were to do one of those “Drain the Ocean” shows and get a tail count on the actual number of bass that are out there, all bass population worries would be erased.
Admittedly, I’m one of the sole sticklers for conserving the entire marine ecosystem – and not just a few favorite fish. A proper eco-balance is everything. The current bass biomass is easily beyond what the system needs. Of course, that might not be what striper extremists want to fulfill their perfect, bass-on-every-line dreams.
Anyway, back to Simply Bassin’. Here’s the prize money breakdown, based on 200 entrants.
First place, $1,000; second, $800; third, $600; fourth, $500; fifth, $400; sixth, $200; seventh, $150; eighth, $100.
The four sign-up and weigh-in stations are (north to south): Viking Outfitters, Barnegat Light, https://www.facebook.com/vikingoutfitters; Surf City Bait and Tackle, Surf City, surfcitybaitandtackle.com; Fisherman’s Headquarters, Ship Bottom, fishermansheadquarters.com; Captain’s Quarters Bait and Tackle, Brighton Beach,https://www.facebook.com/CaptainsQuartersBaitAndTackle.