Tag Archives: wild ocean

Fly Casting REVup Challenge: #7


“Beat the Wind! Use Your FULL Double-Haul.”


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As promised here is our SKIFF EPISODE, where we REVup our Double Haul for casting in the wind, getting extra distance, and throwing big flies. Skiff fishing provides its own challenges, especially where distance is concerned. Because a boat is bigger, makes more noise and throws a bigger shadow, fish can see/sense/feel it and us from farther away. That often means longer casts are essential just to get the fly away from the boat into a zone where the fish are not yet alerted to our presence.

This is a more advanced tip, but still comes back to basic principles of casting, namely: Slack is the Enemy! Many anglers who have learned to double-haul don’t take it far enough. Specifically, they don’t get their “hauling hand” back to their casting hand before they start their forward cast. If there is a lot of space between your hands, there’s a tendency for the casting hand to MOVE TOWARD the hauling hand at the beginning of the casting stroke. This puts slack in the system, reducing bend in the rod and stealing energy from the cast.

The difference between a good caster and an expert fly caster is that the latter will end their haul with their hands nearly together. This makes it impossible for the hands to move toward each other during the casting stroke. It also provides more distance for the haul on the forward cast.

HOMEWORK:
Work on getting the hauling hand back to the casting hand BEFORE you begin your forward stroke. The line will tell you how fast. Too fast and you’ll put slack in the line. Too slow and you won’t make it all the way back. It should feel as if the line is PULLING YOUR HAND back toward the rod, after you make the haul for the backcast.

The Grouper Moon Project


This last site had over 4,000 spawning Nassau Grouper removed from it, in only 2 years of fishing…

A marine scientist doing field work at the Nassau Grouper aggregation in the waters off Little Cayman. [Photo courtesy the Grouper Moon Project]

A marine scientist doing field work
at the Nassau Grouper aggregation
in the waters off Little Cayman.
[Photo courtesy the Grouper Moon Project]

 

A few years ago I started covering this story after a series of massive overfishing episodes threatened this critical predatory reef species prompted the Cayman Islands Government to close the fishing site on Little Cayman until they could gather data on the Nassau Grouper. They discovered that the thousands of Grouper in that single site were  all resident Little Cayman Nassau Grouper. Now the importance of this aggregation site is internationally recognized, not just for the health of Little Cayman’s reefs, but for the future study of this species.

As the winter full moon approaches, the Southern Cross Club on Little Cayman prepares for the annual arrival of the Grouper Moon Project team. Each year from late January to early February, scientists and volunteers of the Reef Environment Education Foundation (REEF) join staff from the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment (DOE) to document the last healthy, active and protected Nassau Grouper spawning site just off Little Cayman. The Southern Cross Club and others in the local community provide vital support to the team, recognizing that it takes an entire community to bring this historical and endangered species back from the brink of extinction.

You can read more here: (http://www.pitchengine.com/pitches/7d1e2df1-4739-4736-80be-71a41b0fc895)

Follow along here: (http://www.reef.org/groupermoonproject)

Why Size Matters (The One That Got Away)


MinuteEarth presents a compelling case for letting big fish get away.

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Interestingly, and worryingly, the Cayman Islands have no law preventing “harvesting” of fish above a certain size. We do have a law banning the taking of non-baitfish below 8 inches (or maybe 9 inches), which seems to make sense.

However, this highlights another one of those areas where common sense breaks down. Of course it makes sense to protect babies and juveniles, right? Right? Wait. Are there more adults or juveniles? Which can we more afford to lose? Which is actually more important to the survival of the species?

Perhaps there is a little be of anthropomorphization going on here. Our children are sacred to us—they’re about the only thing that is anymore—so we assume all young should be sacred.

Thing is, we only make a few young over our lifetime. About the only human who has come close competing with fish in terms of offspring is possibly Genghis Khan, who might be the ancestor of roughly 8% of all Asian males (and presumably quite a few females too). On the other hand the average 1st World citizen only has 2.06 kids. An adult barracuda, to pick a fish at random, can lay up to 300,000 in a single season. Three-hundred thousand. In a year. From one fish. Correction, from one adult fish. A young female only lays about 5,000 eggs. That’s 60 times less. It’s the difference between having your 2.06 kids and having 123 of them running around the house.

It turns out that, counter-intuitively, the adults of some animal species are the most valuable members of the population. Weird I know, but look at it this way, if you have a minimum size restriction on taking fish and those fish reach adult-hood just in time to breed once or twice before we pop them into a dinner pot, you’d need 30-60 of them to equal what one full-grown adult can reproduce. That’s so crazily different that it’s hard to get our heads around the sheer numbers involved.

Actually, different is exactly the word, because animals (especially fish) are in fact very different from us. It’s the old Disney™ problem again. We want attribute our values and biases to the world around us. Of course we pin our hopes to the young of our species. That’s a classically optimistic human perspective. But  the natural world is one of wondrous variety, and not all animals do it like we do.

It turns out that people are bad at much of this common sense stuff. For example, every reasonable adult and parent will tell their child they need an education in order to make a good living. At the same time statistics show that only 20% of college graduates end up with a career in their field of study. However, I hasten to add that they still make a living, still end up with careers. It’s just that while a university education provided something vital for their career, it wasn’t what they or their parents thought it would be. These are the numbers, the statistics, yet year after year parents and freshmen still make the same erroneous assumption about what they’re spending all that money for.

Or take the example of the example of happiness. Who do you think is happier, a recent paraplegic or a recent lottery winner? That’s right: someone who has no use of their limbs and someone who just got given a pile of money. Who is happier. Take your time. After all, it’s just common sense. Right?

Right. Unless you’ve already seen the video (or are a genius), you guessed wrong. After a year they are both equally happy.

This is why actual science with real data is so vital. Without meaningful numbers we would be left at the mercy of our notoriously useless common sense. It is also why our legislation needs to be driven not purely by the whims of the voting public or by the (already suspect) common sense of our politicians, but by actual research and data.

So, to the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, the data is in. Repeal the current (pointless) law and establish a new one that protects the mature, breeding adults of our marine species, for these are truly the future of our waters.

Rising Sea Level Floods Everglades


Rising sea levels are transforming the Florida Everglades, a new study shows. Plant communities that thrive in salt water are expanding along the coast, leaving less room for plants that depend on fresh water.

In the news today.

Parrotfish on the Fly, Pacific Style


The Aqua Hulk from FlyCastaway on Vimeo.

UPDATE: Lionfish Invasion Reaches New Depths


Ok, so here we are. First, the highlights:

  1. Lionfish eat pretty much anything smaller than them. They also breed a lot more than native species and out-compete them for food.
  2. Lionfish have been confirmed at 300 ft., in “large populations”. Nice.
  3. The whole invasion has been trace (genetically) to just a few releases off South Florida.
  4. We, human beings, started it with saltwater aquariums.

If you want to read more about the deepwater lionfish invasion please do so here.

Lionfish: INVASIVE Snapper-eating Monsters…


I wonder if Lionfish are eating juvenile bonefish? Hmmm…

A Dissection of a Lionsfish. WARNING, not for sensitive viewers.

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But the good news is there’s a great use for them: FOOD. Watch below for the proper way to handle and clean these tasty invasive species.

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And now you’re ready to make Lionfish Ceviche as prepared by the chefs at Cayman’s own Tukka Restaurant:

Lionfish Ceviché Recipe

  • Shredded/Cut Lionfish (properly prepared)
  • 1 Small Onion, diced.
  • 1 Small Color Capsicum, diced.
  • 1 Small Spring Onion, diced.
  • Cilantro, coarse chopped.
  • 1 Small Avocado, cubed.
  • Rice Wine Vinegar.
  • Lime Juice.
  • Salt.
  • Peppar.
  • Sugar.

Tukka's Cayman Lionfish Ceviche

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