Archive for June, 2007

Fishing is hardcore…and I’ve got the videos to prove it.

You think fishing is all about lounging lazily in a row boat, waiting for a fish to bite?
Well, think again. I’ve spent a few hours on YouTube and got 5 of the most awesome fishing videos.
Bet you won’t be able to convince yourself that fishing is boring after watching these clips.

5. Unbelievable catch!

What’s more hardcore than catching a marlin? Catching a marlin while fishing from a jet ski.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c8CCMgWiXA[/youtube]

4. Lucky Fishermen.
Two fishermen out on the lake nearly die thanks to a maniacal pilot!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOX5ljBKI7E[/youtube]

3. Fishing Bloopers.Fishing Bloopers: “A compilation of hilarious fishing mishaps. Apparently it’s harder to hold a wriggling fish than you’d think…”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lge3hyQt-Nc[/youtube]

2. Low Blow.Balls + jumping fish = pain.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UknIpBG0YxY[/youtube]

1. Torch Fishing.
Definitely an excellent method of catching an insane amount of fish within minutes.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFi9UEXQaSY[/youtube]

ENJOY!

Photoshop and fishing don’t go hand in hand

How to Spot a Photoshopped Image

BountyFishing works like so:

  • Participants go fishing and photograph what they catch
  • Participants then submit these photos to the BountyFishing website
  • BountyFishing awards cash and prizes for the longest validated catch

The biggest hurdle we faced was how we were going to validate and authenticate the fish photos our users submitted. Photos altered with Photoshop can be incredibly convincing. With a few simple clicks of the “Quick Selection Tool” the fish shown below (top left) was selected, dropped into a separate layer, and stretched to add more than an inch to its length. With a little more work to move the shadow and soften any rough edges, the resulting image (top right) shows no signs of tampering.

Unaltered image
Fish measurement

Photoshopped image
Fish Measurement Photoshopped

The solution we found was to use a piece of software developed by Hany Farid, a professor at Dartmouth College who is renowned in digital forensics. When the fish was stretched, Photoshop filled in the missing pixels by interpolating their values from the original recorded pixels. These regularly spaced new pixels are a specific combination of their surrounding pixels. Such regularities rarely occur in natural images, so their presence can be used as evidence of tampering.

Shown below is the output of the BountyFishing software that detects these correlations – the red-coded regions corresponds to the doctored portion of the image.

greenfish.jpg

This software is used by federal law enforcement agencies and can detect various forms of tampering.
We have exclusive rights to the software for measuring fish, but if you really feel like getting your hands dirty with digital forensics Hany Farid’s website has an interface to MatLab for manipulating and analyzing digital images. In addition to the software above, a few other dead giveaways that a photo has been altered are:

  • Excessive cloning – repetition of a particular piece of the photo, often used to stretch or morph images.
  • Inconsistencies in lighting and noise. The easiest way to spot altered lighting is to increase the contrast of a photo so all the differences in lighting are exaggerated.
  • Look for shadows that don’t match up what’s casting them.
  • Optical aberrations, including patterns that aren’t seamless or appear to be inconsistent (or artificially consistent) with the surrounding area.
  • Using human anatomy and other reference points BountyFishing verifies the authenticity of the ruler’s length.

We’ve got a flash demo of how we authenticate photos that gives a little bit more information about how this all works.

Big bass from shore

On a lazy hazy midsummer Friday afternoon, we expected nothing but perfect calm as we arrived at one of our favorite weed lines. But before my fishing partner and I could make a cast and lose ourselves in the hum of churning top-water lures, another distasteful noise greeted us… The roar of 100 horse power engines were on us in seconds… Two bass boats surrounded us like wolves around an injured caribou… One boat cut us off on the inside to fish a patch of lily pads we intended to approach quietly. As I tried to catch a glimpse of the intruding anglers, I was instantly blinded, despite my polarized glasses, by the dazzling display of chrome emanating from their vessel. The other bass boat maneuvered in front of us, plunked its electric motor immediately, and before we could breathe, two lines were casting along our weed line…

arillilylargemouth.jpgI understand why these boats behaved as if we were never there; we were in a small Zodiac. In their minds, canoe or rubber-boat people do not count as being real fishermen. We were peasant perch fishermen and they were shining bass knights hunting for trophy dragons… We tried another bay but, of course, found a disco-chrome-blue vessel in our path. Disgusted, we turtlted our way back towards our vehicle. In front of our truck was a thick weed bed inaccessible by boat but wadable from shore, so we decided to give it a try. On my first cast, the buzzbait was annihilated by a giant bucket mouth. he fish heaved and tangled itself immediately around the stems of several lily pads. As my partner lipped the 6-pound specimen and I ran to get the camera, the disco-chrome-blue vessel was upon us…

The chrome boat had over 30 fishing-lances on deck and at the steering wheel was a peculiar creature. Wearing a racecar helmet, leather gloves, and more patches on his uniform than a veteran World War II fighter pilot, he spoke with the authority and efficiency of a four stroke fuel-injected engine. “Nice fish. Mind if I get a photo with it? My people would be very interested. Did you catch it here?” We soon understood that his people were not a unique undiscovered race of hominid, but rather people working for companies that sponsored him to do what he does: fish the bass tournament circle. We also learned that tomorrow was the biggest tournament of the year on the Ottawa River, and that he hadn’t really caught any fish today because he was out test-fishing the water…

Test-Fishing… What a noble concept, I thought, as my companion released the monster back into its maze of lily pads… Unlike pristine trout lakes up north, largemouth waters are limited to a few, mostly populated areas. In traditional big bass havens such as the Ottawa River, the bay of Quinte, or even the many smaller lakes in cottage country, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find trophy fish. One solution is to fish where others do not and surprisingly, many hot bass spots accessible from shore continue to be over-looked.

Since so many largemouth live in populated areas, dams, canals, and other man made structures, such as bridges can be ideal places to find trophy largemouth.

CANALS:

In Southern Canada, anglers are exposed to miles and miles of fishable shoreline. Though most canals have big bass in them, catching trophies is another matter. Structure is essential for baitfish and big bass, so any fallen tree, old pylon, beaver dam, dock, or shallow weed bed is prime target water. These structures are often not big areas so the key to locating big fish is to keep mobile. Most canal shorelines are monotonous and void of feeding fish, but by targeting only structure areas throughout the day, the angler’s increases his chances. If access via car is impossible, bike or roller blade paths often run along canals, allowing access that is easy and fun for the lightly equipped angler looking for both trophy large and smallmouth bass. Usually, a light spinning or bait-casting set up with 10-pound test and a handful of lures are sufficient.

handjba.jpgLearning to adapt fishing methods in the new zebra mussel era of clear water is necessary in most canals today. Big fish in crystal clear water do not often respond to artificial lures, favoring more natural presentations. Float fishing with minnows, or twitching dead bait can be deadly as well as natural colour power worms and crank baits. Over deep clear water, top-water lures do not work as well as along weedy shorelines where bass anxiously await frogs to swim by. By the en of mid-summer, most canals have a canopy of thick weed covering the shoreline. Under such conditions casting into the deep clear water is not as effective as casting a moss boss parallel to shore, and slowly twitching it on top of the cabbage cover. I have caught many big bass by alternating between a fast and slow twitching a Moss Boss slowly on top of such cover, without the lure even getting wet. The biggest bass tend to follow and inspect the lure carefully before inhaling it in a remarkable, exciting explosion we affectionately call – the blast! Generally, natural colour lures, such as green, pumpkinseed, and black work best. In off-color water, if the weed cover isn’t too thick, noisy lures like spinner-baits are prime choices.

Old canals, with no modern boat ramps often shelter the biggest fish and bare minimal fishing pressure. Often along canals, one side may be cleared and the other lined with trees, making the shoreline difficult to wade or access. These shaded, hardly fished areas have the most fallen branches and trees that often yield the biggest bass. In thick wood cover, heavier line is often more effective. The only danger here is poison ivy, but anglers who do not over-expose their skin or who wash any exposed skin thoroughly to remove the ivy’s leaf oil from the skin have nothing to fear.

manirich.jpgBACK-BAYS:

In busy bodies of water, especially in mid-summer, early morning, evening and night fishing can be especially productive. Bass tend to move of weed lines and head for the shallows. The best way to tackle feeding bass is often the quiet wading of a shoreline. The stop-and-start of an electric motor makes more noise to a fish underwater than most anglers realize. Back-bays adjacent to deep-water bays are prime target zones.

Often these large, weed-infested areas are inaccessible to bass boats and overlooked by most anglers. Here, top water lures reign supreme and are excellent search lures. Even if the lure is missed, following up with a weedless power-worm will more often then not hook a trophy. If wading such areas is difficult due to muddy sediment, taking a small dingy or canoe and fishing from tree or tree stumps can yield excellent results.

DAMS and BRIDGES:

Although fast water is generally associated with small mouth, big largemouth also lurk around foundations and corners of man made walls. When fishing a dam, the corner of lock walls, especially when covered with floating weed, can be a deadly zone. Natural colored curly tail or tube jigs in purple, crayfish, or black work best in clear water, but chartreuse or white jigs in off-color water can be very effective.

In heavy current, the calm side of foundations and bridge pylons can also be prime jigging areas. Light can also influence smallmouth activity significantly in shallow rocky conditions. Most big fish are often caught in low light as they stalk the shallows.

On hot bright windy days, it is possible to spend many hours casting weed lines on big water, far away from home with limited results, whereas the biggest bass lie close to shore only minutes away from your front door. We have often caught countless big bass while stopping at a few choice spots on our way home from distant fishing trips. There are miles of shoreline available to anglers living within city limits. Many big bass have learned to survive in man made settings, or lurk in lake or river back-bays within spitting distance from shore. For some, being in a boat all day is relaxing and fun. Others prefer the exercise and freedom to move and enjoy their surroundings. Under pressured fishing conditions, big bass can be caught regularly by wading anglers armed and ready to tackle the shorelines at strategic places and times when most boat anglers dare not venture.

Bad-ass bass

The ocean was dead calm, but the crisp October air sparkled with life around a handful of fishing boats spread-out over Rhode Island’s Watch-Hill reef. Shrouded in a fog, we could hardly see the jagged rocks outlining the shore where a lighthouse appeared and then vanished in veils of mist. The hungry screams of diving seagulls and the haunting echo of distant marker-buoys accompanied us as we slowly drifted with the incoming tide. My angling companion and I were focussed on our live bait – small shad-like fish about ten inches long – that were defiantly being dragged behind the boat… A school of bait-fish soon erupted close by – and a formation of birds came to investigate. As I considered casting surface lures towards the area, I noticed my little shad was swimming erratically at the surface. We used no leader or weight. With our drag open – and our thumbs stopping the line from un-spooling off the reel – we waiting for a strike, and a fish to run with the bait.

striper-2.jpgThere came a thunderous splash! A silver-white tail slammed my bait-fish into the air, only 20 yards behind the boat. I released my thumb and watched my stunned shad floating at the surface… A few seconds later, a dark shadow engulfed my bait and the line peeled off my reel. After a few more heartbeats, I engaged the drag. The butt of my rod jolted me in the stomach as the heavy fish immediately protested the hook-set… It was a glorious fight ending in my first striper ever – a magnificent 20 pounder. The night before I arrived, a night fisherman casting live eels from shore landed a 55 pounder. It is not hard to understand why striper fishing becomes an obsession with so many East-Coast anglers.

Before Expo ’67, Anglers from Montreal to Quebec City would catch striped bass regularly in the St-Lawrence, but pollution and has since help extinguish the population. Today, the MLCP is making efforts to re-introduce the species with a trial stocking program. In Lake Ontario, before wildlife management officials from New York State and Ontario decided to massively stock Pacific salmon, they had seriously considered introducing Striped-bass. And why not? These fish grow big, fight hard, and offer everything else a game-fish is supposed to.

Although Canada does possess some virgin striper fishing off the coasts of Nova Scotia and New-Brunswick, the sport fishery is vastly undeveloped. Along the American coast from Canada to North-Carolina however, it is a different story. Along the East coast stripers are extremely popular because in addition to being ‘sporty’ they can be targeted from shore or on reefs close to the shoreline. Stripers have a specific migratory pattern.

Migration

striper-1.jpgIn the winter months, striped bass travel as far south as the lower Carolinas. They spend most of their time in the winter in deep water. In early spring, somewhere around early March, the stripers begin to move north to spawn in huge schools. Most stripers will spawn in either fresh or brackish water at the mouth of Large Rivers. They tend to reach the Connecticut area in early to mid April, Cape Cod around the first week of May and points north later into spring. Water temperature has a great influence on this process. Once waters have reached the 50 degree mark, action starts suddenly appearing along the coastline. Bass also can remain in an area all winter. It is rare but not impossible to find a fisherman catching stripers in December. These fish are generally smaller and are caught in rivers such as the Connecticut and Hudson. There is a prime time for angling. Season and time of day seem to have a big impact on fish presence. In the New England area, fishing is best in June and then again in September and October when the bass begin their fall migration south. Cooler water temperatures will turn activity on, while warm waters found during the peak summer months and at midday, tend to drive the fish deep.

Smaller stripers school-up and travel in large numbers, but big stripers tend to be loners, staying deeper than the pack. They often arrive a few weeks later than the schoolies. In New England, May brings the arrival of the “cows” or any fish really over 28 inches. Big fish tend to feed on herring and larger bait as well. It is not uncommon for fisherman to witness big stripers working a school of bait-fish together, like a pack of wolves, cornering them before moving in for the kill.

Fishing tactics

monsterstriper.jpgThe official world record striper was caught by Al McReynolds on September 21, 1982 from Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was 78 pounds 8 oz and about 53″ long. Heavy tackle is required when targeting such monsters. Surf-casting is one of the post popular methods; big spinning reels with 15-25 pound test are mounted on 7-12 foot heavy rods. Anglers wade the shoreline while casting surf lures like the ‘popper’ – a cylindrical plug that, when jerked, thrashes at the surface, mimicking an injured bait-fish… Live bait is an extremely successful method for big stripers. Since such trophy fish feed close to shore at night (especially under the visibility of a full moon), live eels are used frequently by bait fisherman who cast and wait patiently for a strike…

When trying to locate bass, the sight of feeding birds is often the best sign. Incoming and out-going tides are preferred periods for travelling bait-fish over reefs – because all stripers love structure. Bluefish also inhabit most of the stripers range. They are equally sporty gamefish with sharp teeth, so using a metal leader for bass is often a wise idea: both species strike the same lures. Lately, fly-fishing for stripers has grown in popularity. Weighted, shad-dart type flies are striped over reefs and in the surf by Fly-casters generally using a ‘stripping basket’ and 9 – weight saltwater rods and reels.

Stripers were successfully introduced along the Pacific Coast, and San-Francisco Bay is now a very successful striper area – but not as popular as Chesapeake Bay on the East coast or other famous beaches. Some fresh-water reservoirs in the Southern U.S. have stocked stripers with great success since the species takes well to fresh water. Perhaps Canadian anglers one day will enjoy a wide striper sport-fishery, but until then, the best guides, and most knowledgeable striper anglers remain our American cousins. For more information, contact Chatham Charters at www.HookedonStripers.com.