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the most public organ; i mean who is posting*

Capt. John Kumiski
December 5, 2010
Orlando - Saltwater Fishing Report

The Report from Spotted Tail 12/5/10

in this issue
i mean who is posting*
lives of a cell
fishing conference
fly rod leaders
fishing report
Monthly Contest

i mean who is posting*
Last week I made an assertion that present day fish populations are two percent of what they were when Columbus arrived. I read this someplace years ago and couldn't remember where. But I got a response that said this: "come on dude, these facts* and proof* i mean who is posting*"
Having been called out I went looking for the documentation.
My first thought was that it was in Salmon Without Rivers, by Jim Lichatowich. The book is beautifully indexed and referenced (and highly recommended), but I couldn't find it in there.
My next thought was to look in The Founding Fish, by John McPhee. It may be in there. The book, while wonderfully written and also highly recommended, is neither indexed nor referenced, and I couldn't find it in the time available to me.
So I went looking on the internet. I found a blog about fish populations by Dave Mosher. I sent him an email. This is his response: "Not aware of any fish population estimates for the 15th century in North America, but that doesn't mean they aren't out there. The point of the story I wrote is pretty much that -- we don't have a great baseline idea of what pristine ocean ecosystems were like prior to significant, industry driven human interaction with them.
"This is a really interesting resource you may want to dig through for an answer: www.hull.ac.uk/hmap/hmapcoml.org/History%20of%20Marine%20Animal%20Populations.swf
"Also, '2% of what they were' sounds fairly hand-grenade. Specificity is key to being accurate with population estimates of this sort. For example, Caribbean coral reefs took a beating around Columbus' time: www.springerlink.com/content/pntp5dtb1gc0l8tw/"
I just started writing this blog and frankly was wondering if anyone was reading, which somewhat stimulated my use of the two percent comment. I knew while writing it that if I were called out I would have to go on a treasure hunt. I was, and I did, and couldn't find the treasure.
Before I make any more assertions like that I'll be sure I can back them up. I apologize for not making sure in this instance. And to Mr. Silk Floral Arrangement, the person who called me out, thank you for keeping me honest.
When you look at Atlantic salmon, Pacific salmon, cod, bluefin tuna, red snapper, and various grouper species, just to mention a few species that come to mind, it's hard not to believe that two percent figure. But the fact is I can't find the place I originally read it.
And lastly, for the fisherman/reader on your Christmas list, those two books listed above would make great presents.

Lives of a Cell
Former student and current mentor Matt Van Pelt suggested that I read Lives of a Cell by the late Lewis Thomas. I am fortunate to have taken his advice. A short excerpt:
"The human brain is the most public organ on the face of the earth, open to everything, sending out messages to everything. To be sure, it is hidden away in bone and conducts internal affairs in secrecy, but virtually all business is the direct result of thinking that has already occurred in other minds. We pass thoughts around, from mind to mind, so compulsively and with such speed that the brains of mankind often appear, functionally, to be undergoing fusion."
It's good stuff, not fishing, so much more important than fishing. If you have the slightest interest in biology and enjoy superior writing I recommend it without reservation. Another Christmas gift possibility for you!

Fly Rod Leaders
A question that often comes up at fishing seminars concerns fly rod leader construction. I use big game style leaders for about 95 percent of my fly fishing because the only place the leader ever breaks is where the fly is tied on. Further, you can pre-make tippets and carry them in a labeled ziplock bag, very convenient. For six- through eight-weights proceed as follows:
1) Take a wingspan of 30 pound monofilament. A wingspan is your stretched fingertip to fingertip distance. Tie a loop knot at both ends. I use a double surgeon's loop but use whatever knot you like. Loop one end to the end of the fly line.
2) Take another wingspan of your tippet material. For my lagoon fishing that's usually 12 to 15 pound fluorocarbon. Tie a short Bimini twist in one end. Tie a double surgeon's loop (or whatever loop knot you like) in the double line. Cut off all the tags.
3) Loop the tippet to the butt. Tie the fly on. Go fish.
I've had people tell me this system won't work, energy transfer down the line, etc. Bull. When you get a weighted fly moving 40 or 50 miles an hour it's going to straighten out any leader. The leader straightening is never a problem.
For bigger or smaller tackle just adjust the diameter of the butt section up or down. If you need a longer leader lengthen the butt. It's simple. It works well. Try it.

Upcoming Fisheries Conference
Fish don't vote. Fish don't contribute to political campaigns. Those are two of the reasons that fish stocks are in such trouble.
Another reason is that recreational fishermen, the voting bloc that might actually make a difference when it comes to fisheries politicking, are a disorganized rabble. We have numbers but we're not organized. So there is no single, strong voice out there calling for fishery conservation.
On December 13-16 the Sportfishing Conservation Alliance is holding a conference in Melbourne, Florida in an attempt to rectify this problem. We should all be supporting this idea, whose time came a while back. We all missed the bus then, but it's coming around again. Hop on!
For more information contact The Sportfishing Conservancy, (714) 686-6548, info@sportcon.org, or visit their website at http://sportcon.org/

Fishing Report
Monday- rainy and windy, had a class
Tuesday- decent weather, but I had a class
Wednesday- cold, rainy, and high winds
Thursday- cold and windy
Friday- cold and windy. BUT, by Friday I was sick to death of sitting inside of four walls looking at a computer. So I opted to sit in a kayak and paddle, looking for fish.

It was a great call.

When I got to River Breeze I thought maybe I was being stupid. It was definitely chilly and the air was definitely flowing good from the northwest. But I needed to get out, so off I went. It was about noon when I paddled away from the dock.
It was a stunning day weather-wise, especially where the wind was blocked. The birds were working it hard. I saw at least a dozen species and I was looking for fish, not birds (as an aside the loons are in the Mosquito Lagoon now).
I got to the fishing area. It was wind swept and again, why am I doing this came to mind. I got back in the canal and kept going.
Got to another fishing area. Muddy water, no fish. Kept looking. Big splash! Check it out!
It was a redfish. Didn't get a shot, didn't see it until it was about eight feet away. Felt good about seeing one.
Went around the corner. Big splash. There, a tail. Another big splash, different fish. There's one coming right at me. Didn't see the fly. The leader's in the rod. The fly's in front of the fish, Oh my God he's on!
While I fought him two others blew out. I released him and continued the hunt. Had four more eats, hooked and lost one, missed the other three. Didn't see another fisherman. Boat was on the roof at 5 PM and John was one contented boy.

Saturday fly fisher Scott Crouse joined me. He'd never gotten a redfish on fly before and was hoping this would be the day.
Weather-wise he could not have hit it any better. Sunny but cool, no clouds, light breeze, spectacular day. The fish liked it, even with the 60 degree water temperature.
Scott ended up boating three reds, broke off another. He missed at least that many bites. There were blown shots and fish we should have seen but didn't. We were in fish most of the day and had a blast.
The fly of record was a black, #4 Redfish Worm.
Thank you Sgt. Crouse for a great day.

Monthly Fly Contest
No entries this week! ;-(
Send a photo and instructions to john@spottedtail.com, and get in the contest! Prize is a beautifully autographed copy of a fly fishing book by John Kumiski.
See last week's entry at this link: www.spottedtail.com/FlyOfTheWeek.htm

Embrace simplicity.

Life is short- GO FISHING!

Life is great and I love my work!

John Kumiski

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