Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

September 30, 2010

Facebook, Fish Geeks, and Funny Videos

Facebook is a funny place. It's a place that isn't even a real place, which makes it, shall I say, a cyber funny place. A cyber funny community place. Whatever it is, it's popular. Very popular.

I was coerced by professional book promoters, authors, and marketing specialists to create a page, and get 'out there.' I was told that if I had wanted to protect my anonymity, I should not have become an author. Time to go global. So, after much reluctance, I signed up and joined the Facebook movement.

I have to say, it's been informative, functional, and down-right fun. I've made quite a few very interesting connections with new 'FB' friends, and old, long-lost real friends. If you are on Facebook, I need not explain.
OK, now back to this post...

I started out, oh, about six months ago with a handful of real friends and family. It was warm, and fuzzy. Then, I started getting 'friend requests.' This scared me, but not for long. These came from other fish geeks. Fishermen, divers, captains, snorkelers, etc. I started reaching out to other fish geeks, and suddenly, I'm now connected to over 800 fishy friends. And, boy do they have a lot to share!

Pictures, videos (see above), albums, stories, quotes, inspiration.... it goes on and on. This is an obsessive bunch (see previous post about Steve Not the Founder of Apple Wozniak). And we really could use a support group...
Epiphany! Facebook is the support group! We 'get' it, and we 'get' eachother. By 'we' I mean fish geeks. So, if you are an obsessive fisherman, you too, will 'get' the above video that someone lovingly made and shared on Facebook. If not, I can't help you!

September 29, 2010

What a Waste

I hate reading about fish, and especially sharks, that are killed for no purpose. It appears this Great hammerhead shark was caught, kept out of water too long before release, and died as a result. Some fishes are very tollerant of being out of water, and when put back, zip away. Others, are not. Some intollerant fishes that come to mind: trout, bonefish, lizardfish. Some hearty fishes: pigfish, pinfish, greater amberjack, great barracuda. Regardless, there is a lesson here.

>Try to remove the hook while the fish is still in the water.
>If you have to boat or land the fish, get the fish back into the water as quickly as possible.
>If the hook is stubborn, put the fish back in intervals until you can get the hook out.
>Please use circle hooks. I switched to these this past summer and swear by them... they are much harder for the fish to swallow.
>When fighting a fish, only fight it long enough to safely get it boated or landed. Don't tire it out, or stress it out so much that it cannot recover. (We did this once with a Red drum, and I still regret it.)

Thankfully, the scienctists at FGCU will be able to study the shark. But, I summize they'd have preferred this fish had lived.

September 22, 2010

Surf Fishing, by Joe Malat

How do I begin? "Well, begin in the beginning, and tell it from your heart," Mom would say...

I've known Joe Malat for - I'm only guessing - going on 15, 20 years. We go waaaayyyy back. Joe was the Exhibits Curator at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, and I was (always have been) a Marine Science Illustrator. When it came time for the state to finally renovate the facility, I landed the job to illustrate all of the graphic panels, including hundreds of IDs. It was a massive task. The blueprints alone weighed ten pounds...

Joe and I worked closely for well over two years on the project, often calling, faxing, mailing (those days were prior to email!) every day. He was detail oriented, exceptionally diplomatic and easy to work with. He is as nice as the day is long. He appreciated my dedication, and in return, I would turn cart-wheels to make him happy. We both wanted the same thing: the best exhibits we were capable of.

When the renovated aquarium opened, he invited me and my family to a personal behind-the-scenes tour. The boys were very young, but they still remember being above the big tank and watching the green sea turtle surface, breathe, dive. In the galleries, the boys ran from tank to tank, while I watched the visitors point to the fishes, then to my paintings, then back to the fishes. I knew I (we) had made an impact. On the way out, I counted the many different license plates in the parking lot.... Folks from dozens of states had come to visit, to learn, to marvel.

Joe and I stayed in touch over the years and I continued to work with him on an as-needed basis. He went on to become the aquarium director - a much deserved assignment. All the while, he honed his surf fishing skills, photographed and wrote about his passion, and ran an Outer Banks surf fishing school.

Last year, he retired, left the aquarium and moved to Florida (JEALOUS!!). Recently, he published his second edition of Surf Fishing. Last week, a signed copy of this book arrived in my mailbox. (It won't be long before a copy of my book arives in HIS mailbox!)

Anyway, for a book of 44 pages, it is chocked full of information about how to successfully catch commonly targeted surf fishes: Where, When, How, Tips, Size. From Florida pompano to Striped bass. Joe also discusses tides, currents, beach formations, gear, rigs, baits... The book is accurate, up to date, compact, and full of personal insights.

If you like to surf fish, buy this book. Joe knows his stuff.
So there!

(The below link is to his older book. The above is to his latest version. Happy reading!)

September 21, 2010

September 13, 2010

Offshore for marlin - 9/11/2010

A friend of ours called on Monday. He asked us if we would like to go offshore for marlin. The boat belongs to a friend of his, and they have been fishing buddies for a long time. Come on down! Stay at the house. Let's go catch some fish.

It was a plus that we are able bodies. See, marlin fishing is a complicated sport which can require more than a few knowing fishermen to pull it off. There are outriggers, teasers, floating and sinking baits. It can be a very chaotic procedure. The sea can be very rough and not every one is cut out for a full day of getting slammed around. Those who do not know how to properly fish, lose a lot of fish. And given the expense of offshore fishing, losing fish is not a welcome option.

Anyway, we jumped on the opportunity. Put the dogs up at a kennel, packed up, and drove down to spend a day far off over the Atlantic shelf.

On Saturday morning, we were up at 4am, at the dock at 5am, and motoring out to Oregon Inlet at about 5:20am. We were running behind another charter, navigating the myriad of markers and bouys by spotlight. The tide was falling, and the swell was up. The combination makes for waves upon waves. It was, well, rocky. When we passed under Bonner Bridge, things got a wee bit tense. There were sand bars and other boats to complicate matters. Some powered through the waves, some tentatively hung back. But, once outside, it was all out to get to where the fish were. Open up the throttle and go.

On the bridge, the radio crackled with the voices of captains exchanging information. Banter back and forth. We were headed North. The sun started to rise behind low clouds on the eastern horizon. The sky turned purple, then blue. The stars faded away. Seawater washed over the bow and sprayed the bridge. Pitch, roll, slam...We hung on and swapped jokes, stories.

At about 8:45 am, the radio exchanges quieted. Then, someone, on some other boat, from somewhere else, began to sing the Star Spangled Banner. The ocean heaved. The sun cast rays between the distant clouds. We all fell silent, and then, we all sang that lovely song together...

When I try to explain to people who don't fish that there is so much more to fishing than just fishing, those are the diamond-like moments I am talking about.

September 9, 2010

Birthright - One man's struggle to transcend

BIRTHRIGHT from Sean Mullens on Vimeo.

Can I walk, paint, fish, kayak? Yes. How many people can't? Too many.