Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nine Largest Fish Ever Caught

Every sport fisherman dreams of catching “the big one,” a world-record lunker that will get his or her name forever etched in the annals of fishing history. Of course, most of us understand we’ll never realize this dream, and would instead be perfectly content to set a new personal best every couple of years. But there are people who have lived the dream—people who have landed monster fish certified by the International Game Fish Association as world records. So, to inspire anglers everywhere and keep dreams alive, here are 9 of the largest fish ever caught (by species).
9. Blue Catfish
This world record blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) was landed by 47-year-old Missouri resident Greg Bernal at 1:30 A.M. on July 21, 2010. He caught the beast with rod and reel in the Missouri River. At 57 inches long, 45 inches in girth, and a whopping 130 pounds, the fish beats five-year-old previous world record—also caught in Missouri—by a solid 6 pounds.
8. Giant Trevally
Keiki Hamasaki of Kagoshima, Japan caught this 160 lb. 7 oz. giant grevally (Caranx ignoblis) not far from his hometown on May 22, 2006. Casting a lure from the shore on a 130-pound test line, it took him 35 minutes to hall the fish in. It beat the previous record, set by Russel Mori, by 25 pounds.
7. Giant Tigerfish
The giant tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath), found in rivers throughout central Africa, is famous (and almost certainly named) for its giant teeth. These teeth can take a chunk out of just about anything, including human limbs, so fishing for these things can be quite hazardous to one’s health. The world record giant tigerfish, caught on rod and real and pictured here, was landed on July 9, 1988 by Raymond Houtmans. It weighed a whopping 97 pounds.
6. Alligator Gar
The absolutely terrifying Alligator Gar (Atractosteus spatula) is typically found in the Southeastern portion of the United States, but they have been seen as far north as Illinois and as far south as Veracruz, Mexico. Historically despised because they feed on prized game fish like largemouth bass—and because they are scary as hell—recently there has been a surge in “Gar hunting.” The one pictured here, for example, may be the world record for Alligator Gar killed by bow and arrow. It was shot in Texas by John Paul Morris, the son of Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris. The beast measured 8’3” and weighed 230 pounds!
5. Largemouth Bass
In North America, the largemouth bass (Micropterus salmonides) record is considered the “holy grail” of freshwater fishing records. This is primarily due to two factors. First, largemouth bass are among the most sought-after game fish, and bass fishing is a billion dollar industry. Second, the world record for largemouth bass is one of the oldest and most revered in the world, having stood for an incredible 77 years. And while this hallowed record has not yet fallen, it has beentied. Manabu Kurita of Aichi, Japan caught a 22 lb. 4 oz. bass on July 2, 2009 in Lake Biwa near Kyoto, tying the record set by George Perry of Jacksonville, Georgia on June 2, 1932. There was much debate and quite a bit of controversy surrounding this record-setting catch, given the sanctity of the record involved, but the International Game Fish Association went to great lengths to verify the record—even subjecting Mr. Kurita to a polygraph test, which he passed. So, the record is officially tied.
4. Mekong Giant “Grizzly Bear” Catfish
On May 1, 2005 Fishermen in northern Thailand netted what scientists believe is the largest freshwater fish ever recorded, let alone caught. At 9 feet long and 646 pounds, the Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) was the size of an adult grizzly bear. Since this species of fish is considered critically endangered, the fishermen tried their best to keep the brute alive, but were unsuccessful. It was later eaten by local villagers.
3. Swordfish
The swordfish (Xiphias gladius) world record was set all the way back on May 7, 1953 off the coast of Iquique, Chile, by Lou Marron. The fish Marron landed after a grueling 2-hour fight was 179.25 inches long and weighed 1,182 pounds. It was one of the heaviest fish ever caught on rod and reel. Today, the restored mount of the fish is on display at the International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Miami, FL.
2. Atlantic Blue Marlin
The record for Atlantic Blue Marlin (Makaira nigricans) has the distinction of being set on a Leap Day. On Feburary 29, 1992, after an 80 minute battle, Paulo Amorim landed a whopper off the coast of Vitória, Brazil that weighed in at 1,402 pounds. This beat the old record by an impressive 120 pounds.
1. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
Ken Fraser caught the world’s biggest Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in Aulds Cove, Nova Scotia back on October 26, 1979. He landed the 1,496 pound fish in an impressive 45 minutes, and has been basking in the glory ever since. These days, Ken Fraser has a slick website which he uses to peddle the book he wrote about his catch, Possessed. (Perhaps the book would be more appropriately titled Obsessed?)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Surf & Inshore Fly Fishing Project

SIFF12: NORTHEAST from Peter Laurelli on Vimeo.

Video: How Sinkholes like Guatemala happen

Tansform Your Yard - Garden Menu

Planting Justice specializes in maximizing your yard's productive capacity. To that end, we are experienced with the design and installation of the following garden elements - each supporting multiple functions towards the greater health of your garden.

During a consultation, Planting Justice will help you assess what elements will be most functional for your space and needs.
Keller Plaza Raised Bed being planted
Raised beds ensure rich soil for productive plant communities.  Beds can be constructed directly on top of concrete, lawns or just about any surface and shaped to fit tight corners. Because your veggies will be grown in organic compost, the quality of the soil (or lack of it) beneath the beds will not harm your plants.  In an effort to conserve resources, we build custom raised beds from salvaged redwood.
By companion planting and using other organic gardening strategies you can minimize the need to supplement your soil with fertilizers. Beds may be installed with or without a supporting irrigation system, but will need regular watering. As you visit your veggies to harvest, you'll notice their daily growth and ensure they are not being eaten by anyone but you.

Pear Tree
Fruit trees are a crucial element in any urban garden. You might think you don't have space, but we think you do! We suggest planting dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties with low chill needs to make the most of your space.  In the Bay Area, we've had success growing: Apples, Pears, Plums, Apricots, Peaches, Pluots, Cherries, Figs, Avocado, Kiwi, Persimmon, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Mulberries, Pomegranate, Pineapple Guava (Fajoa), Paw Paw, and more. The sky is the limit!
We plant fruit trees with appropriate companion perennials that will maximize your yield by fixing nitrogen and mining important minerals.  Consider diverting your shower or laundry water to irrigate your fruit orchard!  If you plant fruit trees on your property, future generations will be awfully grateful.  

Herb Spiral!
Grow your own culinary herbs!  An herb spiral is a space efficient, beautiful and productive method of growing culinary herbs.  This design works great in the backyard near the kitchen door, so you can walk outside, harvest what you need for a recipe and walk right back in.  The spiral's design conserves water and takes advantage of vertical space in your garden.  Herbs are low maintenance maintenance and extremely useful! This is one of our most common suggestions for backyard food gardeners.

Three Bin Compost System
Millions of pounds of reusable food scraps are transported each year to landfills around the world.  Installing a compost system is a great way to halt the massive inefficiencies of the waste industry and create incredibly rich, nutrious soil for your garden.  No longer will you stare disparginally at at a pile of veggetable scraps, when you know that in several months you will be able to harvest your own soil.  Adding compost to your garden is an excellent way to encourage growth without buyting expensive fertilizers.  You will be suprised how much "waste" you can transform into rich, beautiful soil!

Chicken coop - eggs in laying box
Hens are easy to care for and wildy productive. Healthy hens will each give you one egg a day for 3-4 years.  We build our chicken coops out of redwood so they'll last for many years and with extremely sturdy wire so your hens will be safe from critters at night.

Laundry-to-landscape Greywater System
Installing a greywater system from your laundry machine is the easiest and least expensive way to reuse your laundry water. Laundry machines are equipped with an internal pump that enables an easy install without gravity reliant plumbing design.  Laundry water is delivered into mulch basins below the soil surface where nearby fruit trees can easily access the water.  A three way ball-valve enables you to send laundry water to the sewer if you need to wash with bleach or another non-biodegradable soap.  Installing a laundry-to-landscape greywater system, will lower your utility bills and enable you to control where your waste water is directed!

Shiitake Mushroom Log!
Turn a shady unused portion of your yard into a mushroom farm!  Each year you can harvest pounds of Shiitake, Reishi, Oyster and many other delicious fungi.  Growing edible mushrooms is an extremely low maintenence, facinating, foray into a realm rich with symbiotic relationships and communal interactions.  Mycelial networks created by fungal growth can cover acres!  These networks funnel nutrients from plant to plant, enable interspecies communication and extend root networks.  Planting Justice installs many different speices of edible mushrooms by innoculating cut hardwood logs or installing garden patches.  With proper maintenence these patches and logs will produce for five years or longer!

Shower Greywater System
Rather than send your shower water down the drain into the sewer system, reuse it in your garden!  A shower greywater system enables you to choose whether your water will be sent to the sewer or to mulch basins around fruit trees in your garden.  This saves you irrigation costs and conserves valuable water.  When diverting water to your backyard, use biodegradable soaps.  An automated switch allows you to switch to the sewer instantly if you need to use more intensive hair or body products.  In California, water shortages are expected to increase, installing a greywater system is an excellent way to take back control of your water!

Bees on honeycomb
Keeping bees is a fascinating, rewarding exloration into a highly intelligent and organized insect world. Within a year, harvest pounds of delicious local honey! Your bees will work in tandem with other elements in the garden, polinating many flowering plants for you and your neighbors! A single bee hive can take up as litle as 5 sq ft in your garden, and can placed in a shady, low traffic area that may otheriwise be unproductive.
Humans have been collecting wild honey for roughly 15,000 years and first began domesticating bees in 2000 BC in Egypt.
Keeping bees is a legal pastime in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco! In urban areas, concerns about safety and allergies should be addressed with neighbors prior to installation. At the height of the honey season, expect to spend at least an hour a week managing your hive. Planting Justice will help you install either a Langstroth or top bar hive and, if desired, can provide longterm mentoring in the proper stewardship of a healthy hive.

Get your tomato started early!  Whether it's a small cold-frame or a large walk-in structure, a greenhouse is an incredibly useful element in the garden.  Creating a climate controlled shelter enables you to start seeds early in the rainy months, grow sub-tropical species and give your seedlings a head start in the spring. 

Worm bin cross section
Transform your food waste into black gold!  Worms are extremely useful for urban gardeners. A well bulit worm bin can be stored underneath a sink or in a kitchen pantry and produces no smell! Just dump your food waste into the bin and in a month or two you will have extremely nutricious worm castings.  Worm castings are typically more nutrient balanced than compost, making them a great choice for container gardening and soil ammendments.  In addition you can expect to harvest worm juice to make compost teas and have excess worms to feed to your chickens or give away to friends!  Compost piles can attract rats and other unwanted critters in an urban area, so install a worm farm to minimize you waste and maximize your soil productivity!

Potato Tower
Potato towers are an time and space saving way to grow your own delicious potatos.  Rather than digging in the ground looking for the elusive tubers, a raised tower enables you to harvest above ground when your potato plants start to die back.  Just relase the support system and the potatos will fall to the ground for easy collection.  Growing potatos vertically is also great solution for lead contaminated soil.  After using a potato tower, you probably won't want go back. 

Back Yard Aquaculture System
Have you ever dreamed of harvesting pounds of your own delicious fish... from your backyard?  These systems are quite remarkable.  The nutrients from fish excrement contains high concentrations of nitrogen which are pumped through gravel hydroponic beds.  Vegetables planted in these beds grow fast and strong, sucking up the constant supply of nitrogen and filtering the excrement water before it is returned to the fish tank.  Although relatively unexplored in North America, Australia has pioneered many home-scale aquaponics systems.  This is a water efficient method of raising fish and plants in the same small urban area! 

Ducks in the Garden!
Ducks make great garden companions!  Unlike chickens who notoriously scratch vegetable gardens to pieces, Ducks are much more delicate.  They meander through your tall kale and bean plants, hunting slugs and snails that would otherwise wreak havoc.  A well known permaculture saying:  "You don't too many slugs in your garden..., you have too few ducks."  Planting Justice will build a shelter for the ducks to protect them from raccoons.  In addition, to maintaining pest problems in the garden you will be able to harvest large, delicious duck eggs.  

Green Roof!
A green roof greatly reduces the heating and cooling costs of a structure.  Planting low-maintenance, drought tolerant sedums on structurally sound roofs creates an aesthetically pleasing living landscape.  Some roofs are strong and accessible enough to host vegetable gardens or bee hives.  Take full advantage of your usable space and put some living plants on your roof!

Cob oven work party at Martin Luther King middle school
Cob oven's are a wonderful gathering point in your garden.  Your friends will be begging you to host pizza parties.  Cob Oven's are a very attracive and  community.  In addtion to home baked bread, pizzas and fun neighborhood gatherings, cob ovens are an excellent way to use creatively use your own Bay Area clay.  We aim to design gardens that are both highly productive and highly enjoyable places.  Adding a cob oven is an excellent way to spend more time in your backyard!

White New Zealand Rabbit
If you are interested in raising, slaughtering and eating your own meat in an urban area, rabbits make a lot of sense. Rabbits are an important source of protein in many countries around the world. Their size makes them the ideal mammal to raise for meat in your backyard. They produce quickly and take little space. Planting Justice will build and install a predator proof rabbit hutch in your backyard. Rabbit pelts can be used to create fashionable rabbit fur caps!

Rain Water Barrels
Catch and store your own rainwater!  As California faces serious water shortages the importance of storing and reusing residential water supplies is ever growing.  Take a stand now to reduce your dependence on Municipal water supply.  Whether diverting roof water into large cisterns for storage, backyard ponds or into mulch basins around fruit trees, you will be impressed how much water you can harvest from your roof.  

Fire Pit
In our experience, this is one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to build community in your backyard.  Gathering around a firepit to play music, roast some marshmellow or simply enjoy the night, is an ancient human tradition.

Cob Building
Alameda County allows you to build an non-permitted 400 square-foot shed/studio in your backyard!  Rather than spending thousands of dollars in building supplies, let Planting Justice construct your building with natural materials harvested from local sources.  Whether it be cob, strawbale, waddle and dawb, bamboo, adobe, super adobe, rammed earth, there are so many different options to create a beautiful retreat space. 

Living Wall
Grow plants on a vertical wall!  Epiphytes, sedums and ferns turn a drab wall into a verdant landscape.  Growing plants on a wall can reduce your heating and cooling bills.  This is a beautiful way to repurpose a shed or an old cinder block retaining wall.  It's even possible to hook your living wall up to a drip irrigation system!


Fishing: Devils Gold

Video: Midnight Sun: Iceland

How To Prune Tomatoes


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How to build cement walls for raised bed gardens

Camping: How to Make a Mini Stove

Touch-Me-Not – A Plant That Clearly Doesn’t Like to Be Touched


The Mimosa Pudica (derived from Latin for shy), commonly known as the Touch-Me-Not, is very true to its name. It obviously doesn’t like to be touched, because running a finger along the leaf simply causes it to fold inwards. I’m not sure if touch really bothers the plant, but the phenomenon is very beautiful to look at. The exact reason for this peculiar behavior of the Touch-Me-Not is also unknown, but it is believed the plant uses this feature to thwart predators. The closing leaves supposedly scare them away. Apart from the stimulus of human touch, the leaves also close during night time. The plant has its origins in South and Central America, but it is actually found all around the world.
The closing motion of the leaves is what makes this plant so special. In school, we all learned plants are real organisms, but we rarely perceive them like that in real life. When the Touch-Me-Not starts to shrink and closes its leaves one by one, it’s a dramatic moment in which you feel the plant is actually alive.

Touch-Me-Not is popular as an ornamental plant, but needs to be handed with caution. A plant that is so sensitive to touch can actually be poisonous if ingested. It is especially dangerous for children who find it to be an object of great fascination.

Strangely enough, the leaves of the Mimosa Pudica don’t close up if you touch them right after they’ve opened up in the morning. I have no idea why that is, they’re probably too hungry for some photosynthesis…


Parrot Sings Drowning Pool"s "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor"

How to Tame a Chickadee

Step 1
Since Black-capped Chickadees are wild birds, they generally choose to forage opportunistically – meaning, they will generally go for the most convenient and rewarding food available.  Through experience, my husband and I found that the easiest time of year to tame chickadees is in the winter, when there is less natural food available.

Step 2
Find a place where you would like to do your training – make sure there is adequate tree cover nearby; Chickadees will not spend long periods of time in open spaces, as this exposes them to an increased likelihood of predation by larger birds and animals.  Chickadees will frequently return to an area where they can find decent food, so always train in the same area.

 Step 3
Be the best source of food in the area.  Put out small piles of the nuts you will be feeding (such as plain almonds or peanuts) and let the chickadees discover them.  Replenish the nuts after they have eaten them.  During this time, stay away from the area.  Do this for a couple days.

Step 4
Once the chickadees visit your site regularly for food, you can begin to get them accustomed to your presence.  Get into a comfortable position, whether it be sitting or standing, and prepare to be very still for a while.  Stay at least five to ten feet away from the food sources, and give the chickadees time to approach again.  At first they will be wary, and may sit high in a tree and emit high-pitched chirps.  Eventually they will approach to retrieve nuts again.

Step 5
After the chickadees are comfortable collecting nuts with you in the area, slowly move closer and closer to the nut piles.  Stay completely still as they approach; sudden movements will scare them away.  If the chickadees are uncomfortable, they may swoop back and forth a few times without getting close to the nuts; this is normal, they are just testing their limits.

Step 6
Slowly move your hand closer to the area you have the nuts in, and place a few in your hand as well.  Initially they will choose the nuts farthest from your hand.  Gradually move all the nuts into your hand so that you are the sole source of treats.  Keep your hand on the ground or directly on the area where the nuts have been placed before, and keep absolutely still.

Step 7
Once the chickadees are taking food from your hand, you can start moving your hand off the ground.  The chickadees will recognize the sight of nuts, and will retrieve them from basically anywhere: your hand…

your forehead…
or even your mouth!

*  Be patient!
*  Always keep nuts in your pocket – the chickadees will start to follow you around once they learn that you are the source of nuts.  They may even swoop in and land on your head!
Just remember – stay still!