Bad Weather No Fishing Report

 Bad Weather No Fishing Report

Thank you for reading this bad weather no fishing report.

The wind blew hard all week. It rained a lot. I had one trip scheduled- we postponed it.

Show and Tell Seminar

Hurricane Irma badly damaged the dike roads in Merritt Island NWR. The standard show and tell seminar can’t be held. We’re offering the On-the-Water Show and Tell Seminar on October 21. For more information or to register, visit this link: http://www.spottedtail.com/mosquito-lagoon-on-the-water-show-and-tell-fishing-seminar/

Save the Menhaden!

Menhaden (pogies, bunker, and many other local names) convert plant matter into animal matter by filtering the water (cleaning that water in the process). They are a vitally important baitfish for many species of fish that anglers like to catch.

Hurricane Irma caused the ASMFC to reschedule the menhaden hearing in Melbourne to October 10 6pm. The deadline for written comments was also extended to October 24 5pm EST.

The hearing October 10 will be the only one in the South. We need everyone we can to turn out and speak in support of Issue 2.6 Option E. If we don’t, Omega Protein, who had 150-200 allies at the hearing in VA this week, could take the day when it comes to final action Nov 13-14. Please come out and support your fishing future!

On Fly Fishing the Northern Rockies- A Review

On Fly Fishing the Northern Rockies- Essays and Dubious Advice, by Chadd VanZanten and Russ Beck. The History Press, 2015, paperback, 126 pages, $19.99

Brilliant. Witty. Insightful. Could more superlatives make you want to read this beautifully written little gem? It doesn’t matter where you live or what you fish for, if you have the soul of a fly fisher you will enjoy this book immensely.

The authors alternate essays, liberally sprinkling angling philosophy through their prose. On an angler’s honesty- “Always tell the truth sometimes.” On your fishing vehicle- “It’s essential to cultivate the sweet, pungent smell of mildew.” On why fishing can be difficult- “The hardest thing about fishing is that all the people live on land.”

A random paragraph- Those cutthroats were reckless. They came from deep holes, crossed from one side of the channel to the other to take a fly. They came up two at a time. Those fish were irrational. I was extra careful when returning each to the stream that day. Clearly, they could not be trusted with their own safety. 

The book has dashes of Gierach, touches of Cardenas, but the flavor is clearly that of the authors. VanZanten is an editor when he’s not fishing. Beck teaches writing. I’d like to take his class. Their considerable talent is on full display here.

On Fly Fishing the Northern Rockies is the best fishing book I’ve read in a long time. It’s not a candidate for catch and release.

So we did not wet a line for this bad weather no fishing report! But we got some other things done, and thanks for reading!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2017. All rights are reserved.




Food on Foot Review

Food on Foot Review

food on foot

Food on Foot- A History of Eating on Trails and in the Wild, by Demet Guzey, Rowman and Littlefield, 2017, hardcover, 199 pages.

The foreword and introduction to Food on Foot started off slowly. My thoughts were I wouldn’t be able to get through the book. Wrong! The second chapter, which covers what the DeSoto expedition through the American southeast ate, the cannibalism of the Donner party, how the first attempt at crossing Australia ended in disaster, began a book-full of fascinating reading. I did not want to put this book down.

I’ve always found histories of the Arctic and Antarctic explorations fascinating. Scott’s Last Voyage has a place in my bookshelf. After reading Food on Foot I understand more than ever the difficulties and hardships these explorers faced every day as they struggled to reach the poles and return to civilization. In many cases they did not return, and Food on Foot explains why. Any expedition reduced to boiling and eating their shoes suffered from poor planning, poor luck, or both. Apparently eating pemmican is similar to chewing on a candle. Pemmican has more nutritional value, though.

Guzey discusses the foods taken on ocean voyages, mountain expeditions, desert crossings, holy pilgrimages, and Army campaigns, going back to the earliest summits of the Alps, Marco Polo’s adventures, the Crusades, and the Roman Army. During the German Blitzkrieg of World War 2, German soldiers were fed methamphetamine to decrease their hunger and increase their endurance. Who knew?

This book was full of fascinating facts and was exceptionally well-researched.

Quirks of syntax within the book makes me suspect the book was written in another language and translated, or, if written in English, English is not Guzey’s first language. These quirks do nothing to harm the book’s readability though. If anything, they add to the interestingness of it, to make up a word.

Every human who has ever walked this planet has interacted with food constantly. Most of us are intensely interested in food. Food on Foot is a fun and engrossing read about a subject that’s close to all of our hearts (and stomachs). It has this reviewer’s highest recommendation.

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2017. All rights are reserved




What a Fish Knows- A Review

What a Fish Knows- A Review

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What a Fish Knows- The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins, by Jonathan Balcombe. 288 pages, hard cover, Scientific American, 2016, $27.00

Once upon a time a friend gave me a book titled Be Here Now (by Baba Ram Dass). That book touched in me places I didn’t realize existed, but it did not change my behavior. Until one day, months later, I was cooking a leg of lamb, and while checking to see if it was done something happened in my head-CLICK! That piece of meat went from being my dinner to a disgusting dead thing, just like that. I stopped eating all meat and very nearly stopped fishing. Talk about a delayed reaction!

I just finished reading What a Fish Knows, an excellent, well-documented work of popular science. Mr. Balcombe presents some good, documented arguments that fish are intelligent, aware creatures with a lot more going on intellectually than we as humans have ever given them credit for, for example-

-documented cases of tool use by several species;

-complex social structures, particular on coral reefs;

-familial ties. Many species of fish care for their young for an extended period, and some mate for life;

-intelligence. Some fish species can solve problems faster than chimpanzees;

-cooperative hunting strategies, between members of the same species and between members of different species.

I could list more, but you get the idea. Fish deserve a lot more respect from us than they get. Evolution has had 150 million years to work with fish. A few good adaptations must have occurred in all that time. It’s only been working with us for six million.

I often feel sorry for the fish I catch as I watch them struggle at the end of my line. I often apologize to them, and thank them, whether I drop them into a cooler or release them. This book will only make me empathize with them even more strongly.

Only time will tell if What a Fish Knows will change my behavior. It’s certainly given me a greater appreciation for fish of all kinds, and lots of food for thought. Those are two reasons why anyone with any interest in fish at all should read this book. It earns my highest recommendation.

John Kumiski



Litterology Review

litterologyLitterology Review

This is a Litterology Review- a review of the new book Litterology.

It’s sad that the planet needs a book by the name of Litterology- Understanding Littering and the Secrets to Clean Public Places (Karen Spehr and Rob Curnow, paperback, 150 pages, Environment Books 2015, $25.00). Anyone who looks around anywhere where people go will see we do, though. There is trash disposed of improperly everywhere.

Why do some people always litter? Why do some people never litter? Why do most people litter in some situations, but not in others? And most importantly, how do we change people’s behavior so that they litter less, or not at all, or even go around picking up other people’s litter?

Spehr and Curnow are environmental psychologists who have spent a good portion of their professional lives researching the answers to these questions. Littering is actually quite a complex behavior. Some of the factors that must be considered when trying to find out why people litter or why they don’t include the location where the littering or not littering is occurring, the type of object or objects being disposed of, whether bins are present or not, where the bins (if present) are placed, how well-maintained the bins are, whether or not other people are littering, and whether the disposer thinks they are being watched or not.

In general, clean places tend to stay clean and littered places tend to stay littered. Large public gatherings tend to bring out the worst in disposal behavior among everyone who attends. Figuring out why clean places stay clean is an important consideration when trying to change the behavior of people who are littering in a trashy area. Changing the behavior of large numbers of human beings is a tough thing to do.

If you consider yourself to be a responsible individual, particularly one who manages any kind of public space, this book should rocket to the top of your must-read list. You will get insights into this dark side of human behavior and how to change it you would never get any other way. It’s a tremendous tool for those charged with managing litter, one that has been sorely needed. Litterology has my highest recommendation.

-John Kumiski

The Modern Savage- A Review

The Modern Savage- A Review

the modern savage

The Modern Savage- Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals, by James McWilliams, St. Martin’s Press, 2015, hard cover, 392 pages, indexed, $25.99.

James McWilliams, a history professor at Texas State University, doesn’t think we as a species should eat animals or animal products- at all. He believes eating animals is morally wrong, and The Modern Savage is basically his argument for that position.

In chapter one he claims the of farm animals lives have emotional richness. Farm animals have consciousness. If you have ever had a pet dog or cat you know they have emotions and personalities, and are certainly conscious of what goes on around them. The same is true of farm animals. This point is well made.

In the second chapter McWilliams discusses what he calls the Omnivore’s Dilemma- that regardless of whether they’re raised on industrial farms or on family farms, the welfare of the animal is not taken into account on the day the animal is slaughtered. McWilliams says that on slaughter day we are taking the life of a sentient being and turning what results into bacon and other commodities, and that, since physiologically we do not need to eat meat, this is morally wrong.

He says, “Most consumers consider eating animals pleasurable and culturally acceptable.” Of course we do! It’s how we evolved!

The wolf doesn’t consider the emotions of the caribou. The wolf is hungry and the caribou is its prey. Shark-fish, hawk-sparrow, predator prey relationships are what the natural world is all about. That the caribou is a sentient being and does not want to die means nothing to the wolf, because he’s hungry. We evolved as both predator and prey, and some of us at least remain predators.

Violence against individuals is what Nature is about. It’s not about right or wrong. It’s about survival. On planet earth things die so that other things can live. I didn’t make this rule, but I’ve watched it operate all my life.

In 1976 I stopped eating all meat. Since then I started eating fish and fowl again. I have participated in the slaughter of one steer, several pigs, chickens, and rabbits, and lots of fish. It’s never enjoyable. Causing death is serious business. But having participated in dealing death to these animals I cannot agree with McWilliams’s assessment that it’s morally wrong. If I killed them for pleasure and left them to rot, that would be morally wrong. If I killed them to eat them, and then I did eat them, that is simply survival. Yes, I could have chosen to eat tofu. What one eats, however, is a personal choice. Each of us has to look in the mirror every day.

I suspect Mr. McWilliams drives a motor vehicle. He has killed sentient beings both directly as an operator of his vehicle(s) and indirectly as a user of roads, parking lots, etc., where animals used to live. Cars are some of the most destructive machines ever invented, and chances are everyone who reads this has one and uses it almost daily.

Mr. McWilliams, if you live in a glass house you shouldn’t throw rocks.

 

Chapter three is about humane slaughter. Interesting term, humane slaughter. It’s a contradiction. Killing something is a violent act. If you care about the thing you’re killing you try to make its death as quick and painless as possible.

Killing an animal you raised can be an emotionally gut-wrenching experience. McWilliams documents the cases of several family farmers who found it so gut-wrenching they had to get out of the business of raising animals.

McWilliams uses the phrase, “Meat is murder.” It got me thinking about the meaning of the word murder. I looked it up (dictionary.com), and got this: “the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law.” So Mr. McWilliams is misusing the word murder. Meat is killing, and killing is not fun. But killing a cow for food is not murder.

He goes on to discuss conditions in a modern slaughterhouse. They sound truly appalling for everything involved. The animals are brutally killed by people who kill animals for a living eight or nine hours a day, every day, hundreds of animals daily, one after another. As brutal as humans can sometimes be, this is bloody, stinky, dangerous, barbaric. It’s not a job most people are going to want to do. But some people do it anyway.

Mr. McWilliams makes an assumption that people are basically decent, and if they knew how the animals they eat are treated they would choose not to eat them. He is probably right about the decency part, although one evening spent watching the national news will tell you that you certainly can’t take humanity’s basic decency for granted. We seem to look for any reason to kill each other, never mind cows and pigs.

I could not get past the first few pages of chapter four. I found Mr. McWilliams’s continually equating eating meat with immorality just too grating after that.

Many people in the world survive on less than a bowl of rice a day. Feeding cattle 20 pounds of grain to get a pound of meat in the face of that kind of human hunger- that is immoral. Cutting down old growth tropical forests to raise cattle for McDonald’s for a few years- that is immoral.

I think people ought to know exactly how that pork chop got to their plate. It once was part of a live, conscious animal. Maybe everyone should spend a couple days in a slaughterhouse as part of their high school education. That would certainly change people’s outlooks on what food is and what it should or could be.

The Modern Savage is worth a read, because whether you agree with McWilliams or not, more and more people are thinking along the same lines as he. The fact is, with eleven billion people projected to be sharing the planet by 2050, we can’t afford not to look into other food options than a diet loaded with meat.

 

-John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.

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The Deadliest Game

The Deadliest Game

A Computer Hacker Fights Terrorists Hatching a 9/11 Plot

deadly odds

“Deadly Odds is original, and a first rate thriller.”
–Philip Margolin, NY Times bestselling author of Woman with a Gun

What happens when a shy and awkward computer hacker gets involved with terrorists?

Arnold Gold is a young computer genius with impeccable hacking skills and a knack for making accurate predictions.  But being holed up in his room all day has made him terribly awkward around women, and he decides to take matters into his own hands with a trip to Vegas. Little does he know that a trip “to get lucky” will make him and his hacking skills a bull’s-eye target for terrorists and the FBI.

When a menacing and bloodthirsty terrorist group want Arnold’s hacking system to hatch an act of terrorism, they’ll do anything to claim it. Even killing his friend Howie. Now, with the FBI wanting him jailed and the terrorists wanting him killed, Arnold finds himself trapped in a high-stakes game with the odds of survival nonexistent. Unless he works with the FBI to capture the terrorists, meaning he will have to comply with their deadly demands.

Deadly Odds takes the reader inside the world of computer hacking and terrorism to create a heart-pounding, insidious thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Only one man can save the nation from another 9/11 of even more catastrophic proportions.

OK, so thrillers are not my preferred book genre. That having been said, I found Deadly Odds eminently readable. The story chugs right along. Deadly Odds won’t win a Pulitzer Prize, but if you’re looking for some escapist entertainment reading this is a good place to look. Find it at Amazon at this link…

John Kumiski




10th Anniversary of Birds of North America Online

10th Anniversary of Birds of North America Online

Dynamic reference stays current with the latest science

Ten years have gone by since the Birds of North America went online, transforming an 18-volume, 18,000-page library reference into a dynamic, constantly updated, multimedia-enriched resource accessible to everyone. Researchers, wildlife professionals, conservationists, teachers and bird watchers use BNA Online for definitive life history information and the latest science on more than 700 bird species that breed in the United States (including Hawaii) and Canada.

“One of the key advantages of BNA Online is that it grows and changes as needed,” said editor Alan Poole. “Dozens of species accounts are updated each year. You just can’t stay that up-to-date in print.”

BNA Online was launched by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in September 2004 and has been growing ever since. During the past year, more than 230,000 unique visitors came to the site from 190 countries. There are currently more than 375 libraries, government agencies, and conservation related organizations subscribed.

Accounts are typically written by recognized experts on the species. Aside from information on identification, habitat, distribution, breeding, and behavior, each account includes sound, images, maps, video, and a bibliography for additional reference.

New features coming to BNA Online include:

Year-round range map for Northern Mockingbird.
  • Expanded range maps with migratory routes and population distributions
  • Links to real-time bird data using the eBird online checklist program showing species ranges throughout the year
  • Improved display of photos and videos

Subscribers can sign up for a year or more of access or pay as little as $5.00 to gain access for a month—great for researching school papers or for learning about a new species you’ve just seen. A year’s subscription to BNA Online is $42.00. Cornell Lab members receive a discount.

To learn more about BNA Online and to subscribe either as an institution or as an individual, visit www.birds.cornell.edu/bna.
 

This Book Was A Tree- A Review

This Book Was A Tree- A Review

this book was a tree

This Book Was A Tree- Ideas, Adventures, and Inspiration for Rediscovering the Natural World, by Marcie Chambers Cuff, the Penguin Group, paperback, 190 pp., $16.00.

This Book Was A Tree is a beautiful, beautifully written, book, both in appearance and in sentiment.

When I go out anywhere anymore, whether it’s to a restaurant, a sporting event, or a concert, what I see are people, especially young people, fiddling with little electronic devices. They’re not paying attention to or interacting which each other, and they are certainly not interacting with what’s left of the natural world that surrounds them. My guess is many of them never learned how to interact with the natural world, and those that did have forgotten.

This Book Was A Tree will teach you how if you never learned, and will remind you how to if you’ve forgotten. “No need to be a weekend warrior with a carbon-fiber kayak hitched to your bike to appreciate the out-of-doors. Getting out there doesn’t require special equipment or masses of expensive gear. Instead, become re-acquainted with nearby wild pockets of nature. Look around! Nature is as close as a sidewalk crack or a moss-covered stone.” She implores the reader to commit to spending at least 15 minutes exploring outside every day.

One of the chapters is called, “Get Dirty.” Why? “Think of yourself as more than a single organism. Your body is a planet- a superorganism comprised of so much more than your own human cells. Its sun-drenched skin grasslands and waterlogged gut wetlands are teeming with diverse communities of critters- each looking for a shelter, a good meal, and a few trustworthy allies.
“In this chapter, you’ll expose yourself to the germy world. You’ll be challenged to go barefoot in the dirt, make a mudpie, snuggle with a dog, and eat whole unprocesseed fiber-rich antibiotic-free foods that promote a healthy internal ecosystem…”

I can hardly wait.

Another chapter is called “Scatter Some Seeds.” Ms. Cuff writes, “An avalanche of unprecedented global challenges looms before us and very few people are paying attention. How can one single individual make a difference when the Earth’s problems loom so large? Here’s how: you take the information you’ve gathered and then share whatever you have with the world.”

Ms. Cuff wants all of us to develop a more sustainable lifestyle. I could not agree with her any more wholeheartedly. She has me working on three projects already and I have my eye set on a couple more.

This Book Was A Tree is a lovely book. This Book Was A Tree is an important book. Even if you don’t need to read it, you damn sure know a lot of people who do. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bookstore and buy one. Read it and put its philosophy into practice. The global community will thank you for it.

John Kumiski



Food Tyrants- A Review

food tyrants

 

Food Tyrants- A Review

Food Tyrants- Fight for Your Right to Healthy Food in a Toxic World, by Nicoles Faires, 242 pages, hardcover, Skyhorse Publishing, $24.95.

Human beings have several very basic needs. Clean air. Clean water. Healthy food. Love.

Food Tyrants only discusses food. Most of us trust corporate America to supply our food. In Food Tyrants author Nicole Faires makes a compelling argument that trusting Monsanto, other large food corporations, and the USDA is a really bad idea.

Monsanto is the company that brought us Agent Orange, Round-Up, and genetically modified seeds. Their goal is nothing less than complete control of the world’s food supply. They are scarily close to attaining that goal.

Most of the meat in your grocery store is produced by what Faires calls factory farms. Let’s just say that neither humane treatment nor hygiene are high priorities in these establishments. Read the book.

Most eggs sold in the United States are produced by hens in small cages. These eggs cause between 650,000 ands 3.8 million cases of Salmonella poisoning every year. Free-range egg-producing chickens cut salmonella down by 98 percent.

The USDA does everything it can to help large food corporations. “Their goal seems to be to protect the big farms from too much fallout when they sell contaminated food.” Less than one percent of cattle in the United States are tested for mad cow disease every year.

But the USDA has the manpower to send undercover agents out to harass and arrest farmers who are producing wholesome, locally grown, non-corporate foods.

Think about all the unhealthy people you know. Obesity, allergies, cancer- all of these illnesses and more are linked to the types and quality of the foods we eat.

OK, so there may be problems with our access to healthy food. What do we do about it? Faires advocates buying locally produced foods, starting local farms and farming cooperatives, urban neighborhood farms, backyard vegetable plots, etc. Take control of your access to healthy food as best you can, by whatever means necessary! As an example Faires uses the Victory Gardens that were in such widespread use during World War 2.

Food Tyrants offers step-by-step solutions to the problem of access to healthy food that anyone can follow. The book is very well written, with excellent documentation of everything she states (it has a 29 page bibliography) and an index.

Everybody who eats needs to read Food Tyrants, the most important book I’ve read in at least five years. I recommend it without reservation.

Visit Nicole Faires website at this link…

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2013. All rights are reserved.

Cockpit Confidential- A Review

cockpit confidential

 

Cockpit Confidential- A Review

Who amongst us hasn’t looked at a jet aircraft at one time or another and been overcome with wonder? Who amongst us hasn’t been angry and upset while trying to fly on a jet aircraft from point A to point B?

Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel, by Patrick Smith, paperback, 304 pages, Sourcebooks, Inc., $14.99, was eminently readable from the first page. Much of the book is presented in a question and answer format. Almost any question you have ever had about any aspect of commercial flying is addressed. Smith is extraordinarily comprehensive and just as extraordinarily lucid in his explanations.

The many anecdotes give the book a very personal touch, too. Since Smith has been fascinated by aircraft since childhood, since he’s been an airline pilot since 1990, he certainly has the qualifications to write this book. Luckily for readers, he’s also a gifted writer, unafraid to tackle controversial subjects like airport security, flight delays, and airline customer service (or the lack thereof). He’s a talented researcher, giving a brief history of airline disasters. He discusses the people who fly the planes, who make up the crew, and how they are trained. The book is very thorough.

I didn’t know fully a third of the cost of a plane ticket is government taxes and fees. Is Uncle Sam trying to discourage us from flying? Airlines only make a few dollars profit per passenger on a cross-country flight.

I’m never crazy about getting in a big tube packed with strangers, operated by people I don’t and never will know. But flying is the cheapest, fastest, and safest way to travel long distances. After reading Cockpit Confidential I have much more appreciation for the people and companies that make my travel possible.

Whether you love or hate air travel Cockpit Confidential is an ideal book for anyone who flies, a handbook for airline travelers. I recommend it without reservation.

 

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2013. All rights are reserved.

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