Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Relief Means Give Smartly;

LEDs Brightening Angling



I’m going to preface this by assuring I’m a properly tattooed, card-carrying American faithfulist. But, the Japanese have personally schooled me in nationalism and quiet courage, via their awesomely cool (literally) countenance in the face of catastrophes wrapped within a tragedy.

I hear people speaking of the current demonstration of Japanese self-control and inner fortitude as stoicism. I might be bickering with semantics but that word is way too cold and unrevealing. It technically means an indifference to pain. It’s akin to a psychological and physical turn-off mechanism. What the Japanese are displaying is absolutely the opposite. They are fully ravaged -- individually, as a community and as a nation. They’re heartbroken -- but not slightly spirit broken.

What the Japanese are calling on is something they refer to as konjo. It’s a cultural trait somewhat unique to the Land of the Rising Sun, at least to the degree it’s displayed in that country. Importantly, konjo is not even remotely based on indifference. It is drenched in what we call intestinal fortitude, coupled with resolve and bravery in the face of, in this case, purely overwhelming and indefensible adversity.

One newscast had me questioning my own abilities to withstand such a tragedy. Hundreds and hundreds of tsunami victims were standing on line waiting for desperately needed drinking water. It was very nearly a life-and-death situation, many people having waited for over 18 hours. The water arrived, and then ran out, long before everyone received a share. The trucks pulled away and the remaining hundreds simply stayed in place – no screaming or rioting or resentment of those who got water. In fact, short of deep discouragement written on their faces, they quietly, resolutely, began the wait for what would likely be at least another 12 hours. Again, I just don’t know what I’d be doing as the trucks pulled off after I had already waited 18 hours. I imagine I’d be speed-studying my konjo primer.

This is actually a lead-in to making sure you properly and successfully send your Japan relief donations. And, yes, this is one of those times where you and I should send a whole bunch.

Hideously, there are currently scammers all over the frickin’ place, trying to divert relief funds into private pockets, likely to be spent on the lowliest of life pleasures. How sick are those mongrels? I wonder what the Japanese word is for scumbag? Doubling their scuminess is the fact these rip-offs perfected the scams by ruthlessly working the Indian Ocean tsunami and Haiti earthquake tragedies.

I’m guardedly recommending sending monetary donations to the Salvation Army or the Red Cross (International.) The quickest and easiest way is by text messaging. The American Red Cross allows $10 text donations to “redcross” to 9099. To make a one-time $10 donation to the Salvation Army, text “Japan” to 80888. The donation(s) will appear on your cell phone bill.

By the by, please forget grandpap’s outdated prejudice against Japan, dating back over 60 years. That nation, since then, has proven a stout ally and, in a highly complimentary fashion, has utterly emulated everything American. Simply put: They like us. Not a common thing in today’s world.

It should be ironically noted that the word tsunami is Japanese in origin. It means “harbor wave.” In a cruel twist of reality’s sword, it was the Japanese harbor towns that were obliterated by these waves.

And they are waves, as in plural. The two major tsunami bombardments in recent years (Japan and Indian Ocean) have shown with vivid recorded detail that there’s not just a single wave, followed instantly by a rapid recovery process. In fact, if you closely watch some of videos from both Japan and the Indian Ocean tsunamis, there are breaking waves in the foreground and looming waves out on the horizon. In fact, in the Indian Ocean tsunami assault, a common comment by-caught in the background of videos are people saying, “Here comes another one.” 

Some of the more awesome footage from the Japan tsunami was recorded from a coastal town, where the waves were still blue and literally feathering, then pitching out, like a surfing wave -- as Hollywood has always portrayed. As terrifying as those breaking waves looked, they were picturesque when compared to those oozing black 10-foot walls of putrid water, carrying houses and cars, as the muddied and petroleum-heavy waves bulldozed inland. That ooze was true nightmarish. It places a whole different horrifying face on the arrival of tsunamis – may we never have to see that hereabouts. 

LIGHT ME UP: Way back last Christmas, I splurged and bought a couple strings of solar-powered lights. They are cool as all get-out – but not so much as a Christmasy item as a snake of brightness that was coiled around my front porch. They presented a fully un-celebratory high-viz blue glow, which seemed to snap angrily at the bleak winter darkness more than foster  warm seasonal greetings. In fact, such no-nonsense lights are commonly found on the dashboard of attack F-16s. 

As Christmas departed, far faster than the two months is took to fully arrive, I just couldn’t part with the kick-ass glow those LED buggers offered. They’ve now been relocated to the furthest recesses of my backyard, wrapped within the leafless winter skeleton of my grape vines. They look great, so much so I’ve added to the look via a couple strings of summer-ish solar powered LED “grass blade” lights, gotten through Amazon. These elongated glowers offer an oddish green radiance, common to our famed “glow sticks” and nuclear leakages. Those naked grape vines of winter are bareboned no more. 

Next, I’m eyeing some “dragonfly” solar-powered LED stings. By summer, when the solar-recharged batteries will all but explode forth through the LEDs, I’m hoping my shrubbery zone will resemble an amusement park in the distance. 

I bring up this LED thing as a lead-in to an arriving class of “electronic” fishing lures, hosting LEDs within. There are now dozens of them, all graced with an inner LED-based radiance, mainly powered by button batteries, though some use motion and even chemical reactions (see below) to generate enough electrical flow to power an LED. 

While most of the current LED lures are for freshwater, squid jig manufacturers are leading the industry as they develop hardcore LED lures for saltwater.  

Most effective at night, under ice or in deeper water, glowing plugs seem to be provoking more stubborn gamefish into biting. Numerous incidents can be Googled up. Lights have long been successfully used by shark and squid fishermen. .

I got an email from a local nonstop experimenter who is working on using LEDs to illuminate “clear” Red Fins and Bombers. I have no doubt he’ll come up with something -- whether they’re functional or not is always one of those remains-to-be-seen things. I sure would like to see what a full-sized plug attracts when glowing – or even strobing. Hey, it’s all catch-and-release so I won’t be breaking any sportsman’s code of ethics. Indeed, some perpetual bitch-and-moaners are opposed to LED luring.

Speaking of LED experimentation, one of the odder LED offerings was introduced at a recent sportsman show. It’s a metal saltwater spoon with glowing LED eyes. This in itself is catchy but it’s the way the lights get lit that had me flashing way back to my old high school science class, when Mr. Yamamoto had us build a saltwater battery.

The experiment was a high point of high school for me. We use metal disks of differing electron charges. When saltwater was added, all the negatively charged electrons were attracted to the positive ones. Energy ensued when they met. That’s the exact principal in this LED-lit spoon. A simple zinc disk is enclosed within an energy unit. The chemical reaction between the zinc and saltwater produces enough energy to set the LED eyeballs a-glowing. It has limits, i.e. the dissolve life of the disk. But, the company will replace the energy unit at a minimal cost. 

Who cares if it catches fish? The coolness factor alone is worth countless casts for me.

I’m pondering adding in-line LED tubes (Cabella’s and elsewhere) and LED teasers in front of that LED plug. What a light show, per cast.

As for those nights when we used to put just a puny LED or Glow Stick on the tip of a spiked rod, solar-powered LEDs will easily allow the entire length of the rod – and the spike – to glow and strobe. Hell, the gamblers in neoned AC will be looking up toward Holgate to see all the light.

CARVING INTO CREATIVITY:  Over the weekend, I stopped by the home of Alfie S. to see some of the newest fish decoys and lures being invented by this Tuckerton craftsman. You might have seen last week’s SandPaper article on his out-there creations, sporting very unnatural seeming colors – though with shapes holding kinda true to life, be they mice, frogs, minnows or whatevers. 

When you see his decoys or fishing plugs close up and personal, it’s obvious that they have a cool coating of fantasy, both in the shaping and coloring mix.

I did some research, tracking down stories and photos from the olden ice fishing and fish decoy carving days. You can quickly see that even the earliest of fish decoys were a big tad phantasmagoric.

Although the oldest fish decoys – worth a mint to collectors – have seen their paints fade drastically over time, a little artistic imagination can restore the decoys’ original hues. The folk art oozes out when one imagines these nearly psychedelic artificials standing out in the dark icy-cold spearfishing days of the distant past.  

Alfie has recently taken to making super cool walnut “jigging sticks,” based on very old “jiggers” first made by Native Americans, then adopted by Euro-settlers. They were like short stubby fishing rods, used to dangle decoys to simulate a swimming action.

Again, some well-placed imagination has these earliest North American residents, spear in-hand, crouching or kneeling inside their one-person buffalo skin tents, methodically jigging decoys -- occasionally looking out to make sure a couple grizzlies weren’t sneaking on the ice to go after the skinny buffalo just sitting there.

The reason the aboriginal folks tented over their holes in the ice was to have their quarry stand out. The light outside the tent would illuminate the column of water beneath the opening in the ice. As large fish, like pike, slowly moved into the tent’s shadow – to ponder the seemingly crippled baitfish (decoy) -- they would literally be in the spotlight.   

Anyway, the jigging sticks are shaped a bit like a long-barreled revolver. Many have a very primitive line holder on the top, shaped a lot like a boat cleat. It can hold maybe ten feet of dark twine wrapped around it. The tag end of the line goes through a hole near the front of the stick’s barrel. That’s where the decoy is attached and jigged.

See www.fishdecoys.net , cursor down and click on box entitled “Fish Decoy Items.”

When it comes to fishing plugs, many of Alfie’s creations are colored like something that successfully partied all night at Mardi Gras. However, they are actually proven fish catchers. Some of his craziest colored lures have produced the largest bucketmouths. In fact, Alfie has a standing competition with fellow plug/decoy crafter and neighbor Don Johnson. They challenge each other to create the most out-there artificial capable of fooling the baddest of bass. 

I have a theory on why the wildness of their plugs works on better fish. It’s pretty much a given that bass in NJ lakes have been caught/fooled and released in the past. They quickly wise to the look of what might be called production lures. The loud lures made by Alfie and Don bare little resemblance to the store-bought plugs that bit back when attacked. The wild plugs are also generally large and bulky, just what bigger bass crave – especially when it comes to food that is bright purple with spots and glitters. 

OUT THERE STUFF: I got a goodly dose of outdoors over the weekend. I did some minor pickereling. I was working winter waters near Chatsworth – an area that sees the waters get real low when the bogs are emptied (soon).

I had the typical small attack-anything chainys going for my spinners. By the by, I once heard a Piney called them “chaineys” so I flick that odd nickname out there now and again.

I was using spinners – and not my favorite Heddon torpedoes -- because the area has very little bottom vegetation, seeing its not an actual bog but something of a reservoir area near the bogs. One of the huge advantages of a torpedo is its flotation, so you can throw it into just a few inches of water, places where a spinner would sink and hang up before you could even flick the bail and get it moving. This site was forgiving. The pickerel were so small that a minor Mepp’s spinner was the smartest presentation.

I was a bit surprised to see a water snake already out and sunning. Obviously, it was hoping to take advantage of the noisy showing of frogs, primarily the larger wood frogs.

THIS SUCKS: There was also a disturbing mass awakening in virtually every portion of wooded area I’ve visited of late. Ticks. Worse yet, deer ticks.

After an amazingly low showing of ticks last year, this year is seemingly making up for lost bloodsucking time. That’s doubly bad news for me, not only because I’m out there more than anyone you know but because those damn small ticks are far more inclined to loosely hang in clothing long enough to make it indoors.

Even though I place all daily “outback” clothes directly into the washing machine -- and go hot and soapy on them – even one or two deer ticks dropping off early, making themselves at home, can eventually lead to a freckle with legs on one’s skin.

I’ve heard that in some areas of the Pines, over half of all deer ticks carry Lyme disease. That doesn’t mean you have a 50 percent chance of contracting this nasty disease, should a tick bore its head into you. Ticks must suck for at least 24 hours to pass on the disease-making spirochete. What’s more, some folks have an ability to stave off the disease, even if exposed. I wouldn’t count on it, though. The trick is always to meticulously de-tick after every brush with wooded areas.


LOCAL POLING PLACES: Longer poles are coming to win us.

Sounds a bit like a song by the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, before becoming Yusuf Islam -- and going part-time terrorist on us.

But on to the poles.

Along the south side of Rte. 72 from roughly the Rte. 9 overpass all the way to the first Causeway bridge toward LBI, are huge wooden utility poles, lying intermittently on the easements just beyond the highway’s shoulders. These are some big-ass poles, ready to be righted into place in coming weeks.

The utility poles to be are a goodly bit larger than the standing ones, which have stood their ground for a solid 50 years.

This wood-in-waiting is actually a good sign, sorta. It means that portion of Rte 72 won’t be getting those hulking massive rusty steel utility poles that were recently erected along Rte. 72 from the Parkway to just past Rte 9 overpass. Those metal monstrosities remain hideous-looking loomers, advertising over development and total disregard for the one-time quaintness of the bayside community known as Manahawkin.

It’s unknown what disruptions might arise as the new poles are first married to the existing poles, before the old ones are uprooted and removed. The contractors have that pole switchover thing down to a science so I imagine nothing like blackouts will ensue. But, then, I have a good imagination.






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