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Fishing 2011 Has Been Plain Screwy

Floods, naked anglers, and laws against "misrepresenting" fish sizes

By: Steve Bowman,

It doesn’t take much surfing the web to come up with the fact that 2011, even with just a few months left, has been one of the more screwy years in the world of fishing.

You can start with the floods of almost every major river corridor in the country. It spilled water in every direction and already is being titled “The Great Flood … ” Ironically it was followed by extreme droughts, especially in Texas where lakes and rivers have gotten so dangerously low boat ramps are being shut down.

It gets even weirder when you look at some of the snippets that rarely make national news, but are noteworthy all the same.

For instance, just the other day a 54-year old Spokane, Wash., man was arrested for fishing naked. I had no idea that was illegal. Glad I know. The short news story made no mention if he was having any luck with the fish, although it’s likely no one wanted to pay that sort of attention.

My guess it would have been a different story if that had been a lady angler. No telling what she would have caught in a case like that.

If that had been the case, it would have been a good example of it’s not what you are doing, but who you are.

To further that point, N-Dubz’ Dappy, a rapper/singer (is that actually a category) made big news in Europe for admitting he once spent £8,000 during a spending spree in a fishing tackle shop.

That actually made the news. Don’t tell my wife, but I would be in the doghouse as much as Charlie Sheen if I lived in Europe. My response to the reporter would have been a simple “So, what. Which is cheaper, my two girlfriends or all these new crankbaits?”

Dappy, though, as rappers are prone to do, had a much more interesting response, by saying teasing a carp (really?) out of the water leaves him “proper buzzing.”

Of course, I think Dappy is telling a fish story, which by the way could become illegal in Texas.

According to Fox News, Senators in Texas have approved a bill which “makes it a crime to ‘misrepresent' the size, weight or provenance of a fish.”

Those caught lying could face a misdemeaner charge or, in the most blatant cases, a more serious felony with fines up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison.

The law was brought in primarily to clamp down on lying by anglers in fishing tournaments.

Holy cow. Can you fish naked in Texas?

I had no idea that I fished with so many felons in my lifetime (on the lying thing, not the naked thing).

For all you lying, naked anglers out there, there is a bright side to all this weirdness. In Alaska, scientists are figuring out a way to mix fish guts and sawdust to create energy.

This stemmed from a larger news story when one of the state’s larger seafood processors was fined $1.9 million for discharging fish waste into the ocean. The lead scientist in this new energy, University of Alaska Fairbanks assistant professor Andy Soria, said: “In Alaska alone, there are 100,000 metric tons of salmon wastes dispersed into the ocean each year, The waste is so massive that it can’t decompose into fish food. “There are underground mountains of fish waste.”

Soria has been experimenting with mixing fish waste and the sawdust of coastal alder or black spruce to create pellets. The mixture of fish and sawdust is compressed and placed inside a gasifier to produce a natural gas equivalent.

According to Soria, “It looks like wood and smells like fish.”

And will obviously give you gas. My wife could have figured that one out.

What most of us men would hope they would figure out is what women in Kenya are doing these days in terms of jewelry. Forget the gold and diamond bling that hits the pocket books.

Kenyan women have found that fish bones, found by rummaging through gut piles of dead fish, are perfect for earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

That’s some cheap bling and gives a whole new meaning to the words “Bone Collectors.”

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