Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Fasting: an end to slim pickings?

belly
Pic courtesy of bark via Flickr

Most of us have a standby fly rod. Now it looks as though a rod you can stand behind undetected may be more to the point

I thought this look at flyfishing’s correlation with fasting might be a rare dip in Gink & Gasoline‘s high quality output but damn it if they haven’t got me thinking again, with their reflections on how positively the body compensates to a short period of digestive abstinence.

“My initial theory was this. If I am hungry when fishing, my natural predatory senses could be enhanced. My body needs food and my mind could be sharpening my senses to help me provide it, helping me spot fish and focus on catching them. After doing some reading, I think there’s merit in that idea but there may be more going on…”

A roll-call follows of feel-good, natural, legal substances released by the body when external substances disappear. You could get quite excited about the idea, until you remember that you’re reading this less than an hour after a rather good lunch.

Then again, if a ‘big-boned’ bon viveur like Ernest Hemingway can rhapsodise about the beneficial effects of writing on an empty stomach, in his excellent book A Moveable Feast, who am I to say what going lean and mean might do for your catch rate?

But this is not an undertaking to be, er, trifled with. While I know I write mainly for the Common Sense Generation, there should be moderation in all things and mention it to your doctor first if you have any existing medical conditions etc. You know the drill.

Hands up if you’d like to see lake currents…

Great Lakes in Sunglint (NASA, International S...

Great Lakes in Sunglint (Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center)

That’s certainly a reality on the USA’s Great Lakes, now that a computer code designed to visualise wind has been adapted to indicate graphically the effect that same wind has on the surface of large bodies of water.

“The code was originally developed to make a map of the wind by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, artists/technologists who lead Google’s ‘Big Picture’ visualization research group in Cambridge, Mass., according to their website.

“But researchers at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Michigan saw the stunning wind map and figured it could be applied to surface currents of the Great Lakes, which are largely driven by wind. They were right. And, luckily for them, Viégas and Wattenberg agreed to share their code.” – from Discovery News

Now, the Great Lakes maps are updated four times daily. One of the researchers responsible confirmed an opinion proffered to me by one boat angler in Scotland recently: “I think a lot of people never realised how variable the currents are in the lakes.”
I’d be interested to hear from any UK anglers as to how useful they think this technology would be if applied to the big UK waters.

Fishing and the effects of tobacco

Lose the white gloves and the cigarette holder: judging by this report from Welsh scientists on a salmon’s state of smell, you may be okay as long as your favourite shag, flake and Havana don’t smell of dead fish…

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Pic of the Day

Size 250 bugs the new answer to meagre fishing…

Fly fishermen who hail Damsels and Mayfly may soon have some rather smaller species to thank, if a new way of draining harmful nitrogen from rivers and lakes catches on.

An unwelcome by-product of agricultural and urban land use, excess nitrogen can cause algal blooms and fish kills. A gathering of scientists last year examined ways in which reactive nitrogen can be ‘dentitrified’ into harmless dinitrogen gas by microorganisms.

Now, the scientific journal Ecological Engineering has reported on those deliberations in its November issue,  which has in turn been picked up by Science Daily:

“One workshop goal was to evaluate a new and relatively inexpensive way to treat wastewater and drainage from agricultural lands using “denitrifying bioreactors.”

These bioreactors use common waste products, such as wood chips, to provide a food source for naturally occurring microorganisms. The microbes convert dissolved nitrogen into harmless nitrogen gas, which is then released to the atmosphere”

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Pic of the Day

Does anyone in fishing have a happier face than Brian Chan?

The fisheries biologist offers a scientific slant on fishing trout lakes in this audio link. I’m reluctant to listen in case he ruins the effect by coming across all serious and theoretical.