Hooked Up

Jack Erskine Passes On

Sad news for Australian fishing with the passing of Legendary angler and tackle guru Jack Erskine. He was the kind of person to share and help with even the smallest amount of information for anglers across the globe. (see this past R&R article with links to Jacks site). He will be missed by many and our thoughts are with his family this hour. Please click full story below to see Youtube video of Jack.

I recently took this photo of his induction at the IGFA Headquarters because he was a hero to me and to so many other Australian fishermen. Rest in Peace Jack.

Jack Erskine is possibly the most influential Australian ever involved in the tackle industry. For his life time of dedication to the sport he loves so dearly , he is held in high esteem by his peers, not only for his undisputed angling talents but for many contributions to the development and ever improving fishing tackle
He is one of the only Australians to be presented with the Ron Dempster Award for the contributions to the future of Sportfishing, one of the first inductees to the Cairns Black Marlin Hall of Fishing Fame in 2006 and in 2009 was inducted into the International Game Fishing Association Hall of Fame.

Oarfish found by Baja Anglers

Our friend Grant Hartman of Baja Anglers came across this Oarfish on one of his beach fishing adventures. Grant said "We came across this 18' oar fish just as it was dying. Its skin was very weird to touch bumps on it and felt like leather. The most beautiful fish I have ever seen." What a experience that must have been for his group. You can read more about Oarfish and other strandings here in a news item we published previously. Strange Oarfish or go and check out Grant's Blog Site for more.

Raul Navarrette 1971-2012

We had the pleasure of meeting and fishing with Raul Navarrette over 12 years ago when we visited Belize River Lodge . Raul was not only the Captain of the "Christina" mothership that we sailed on but also one of our favorite guides. The group of Elizabeth and Peter Van Gytenbeek with their daughter Kate who is my wife had grand adventure with him and the crew. It was a trip where I caught my first decent Atlantic tarpon and saw schools of permit I had never imagined. But what I remember vividly was being in the middle of a hot tarpon bite up a very tea stained river. We were getting takes just about every cast when Raul suddenly  snapped "be very quiet , don't move  muscle" and then we heard it too. A roaring buzzing that was getting progressively louder. Then we then saw it coming around the river bend. A huge swarm of bees following the river track. The sound crescendoed as the swarm pulsated and zoomed over our very heads while passing by. "Wow what a huge swarm of bees" I said softly and very calmly Raul replied "Killer Bees, very dangerous".... No shit I thought.
We last saw Raul at a fishing show at the Belize River Lodge booth he was excited about getting a FFF casting certification but had a flu from the cold weather. He was a really nice guy and forgave me for pronouncing his name Rule in my Aussie tongue but I think he got a laugh from it really.
Another great loss to the fly fishing world. Rest in peace brother.

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Board member Mick Kolassa is coordinating efforts to assure that his family will be taken care of.  Anyone wishing to help in this effort is urged to contact Mick at

You can read more about Raul here at Raul Navarrette

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Fishy News

Marin at forefront of effort to stop shark finning

By Mark Prado
Marin Independent Journal

SAN FRANCISCO — A movement with Marin origins aimed at halting the sale of shark fins for food could become state law under a bill co-sponsored by Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael.

Using the California Academy of Sciences as a backdrop, Huffman held a press conference Monday to announce legislation that calls for a ban on the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins.

Every year fins from up to 73 million sharks are used for shark fin soup, contributing to the decimation of shark populations worldwide. Once the fins are sliced off a shark's body, the animals are often dumped overboard dead or alive, according to backers of the bill.

With one-third of shark species on Earth threatened with extinction, researchers worry their depletion could cause irreparable damage to marine ecosystems.

"The real issue here is we can't effectively stop the practice of shark finning unless we get after the demand for shark fins," said Huffman, D-San Rafael, who is sharing the legislation with Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino. "If you shut down the demand and the sale, that's the most effective thing you can do to eliminate the practice globally."

Hawaii passed a similar law last year, while Oregon and Washington are looking at similar measures, proponents said.

The practice of finning — removing fins from the shark — is outlawed in American waters, but it occurs in Mexico, China and other locales.


The fins are then shipped to the Bay Area and restaurants across the state.
"We know it's happening in other parts of the world, in fact it is raging," Huffman said. "The price for shark fins has gone up. The demand will keep driving it until we get at the demand."

Shark fin soup is widely available. A U.S. WildAid survey found one-third of Chinese restaurants in San Francisco serving the dish priced from $6.95 to $85 a bowl, and it is considered a delicacy.

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, opposes the bill, calling it an assault on Asian cultural cuisine.

"The proposed state law to ban all shark fins from consumption — regardless of species or how they were fished or harvested — is the wrong approach and an unfair attack on Asian culture and cuisine," he said in a statement. "Some sharks are well-populated and many can and should be sustainably fished."

But chef Charles Phan, of the Slanted Door restaurant in San Francisco, disagreed. The popular Ferry Building restaurant serves Vietnamese fare.

"People may think it's an attack on the culture, but there is really concrete evidence showing it's destroying sharks. I think most people will stop eating it," he said. "It's just about education."

Mill Valley resident John McCosker, senior scientist and shark expert at the California Academy of Sciences, said finning irreparably hurts populations.

"Sharks are very slow to reproduce, very slow to grow and they have very few young, which makes them extremely vulnerable to over-fishing," he said. "Sharks that are in the Bay Area range to Mexico and they have been caught and finned there. We have lost some that have been tagged near the Farallon Islands."

Shark researcher David McGuire of Fairfax started the effort to ban fin sales. He worked to get the town of Tiburon — which means "shark" in Spanish — to approve a proclamation in 2008 backing a Bel Aire School student effort to raise awareness about finning.

"We started this movement in Tiburon," said McGuire, who heads the Sea Stewards, an organization that works on shark conservation. "I have been working on it for three years. Now we are taking it statewide."
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One way to catch catfish

Sunshine Coast Council lifeguard service's Trent Robinson said in his 10 years on the beaches he had never seen anything like the catfish incident.

“He walked up and said I think I've got a fish in my back and I said ‘give us a look',” he said.

“It was flapping around still connected to his back.

“He got dumped by a wave and hit the sandbank and felt something in his back.

“We called an ambulance. I cut the catfish off because it was flapping around causing pain.

“We put disinfectant on it to try to kill germs.

“The paramedics couldn't get it out either so they took him to hospital.

“It's unbelievable he landed on a fish, let alone got embedded by it.

“They're usually freshwater but probably got flushed out in the dirty floodwater.”
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The world faces the nightmare possibility of fishless oceans by 2050 without fundamental restructuring of the fishing industry, UN experts said Monday.

"If the various estimates we have received... come true, then we are in the situation where 40 years down the line we, effectively, are out of fish," Pavan Sukhdev, head of the UN Environment Program's green economy initiative, told journalists in New York.

A Green Economy report due later this year by UNEP and outside experts argues this disaster can be avoided if subsidies to fishing fleets are slashed and fish are given protected zones -- ultimately resulting in a thriving industry.

The report, which was opened to preview Monday, also assesses how surging global demand in other key areas including energy and fresh water can be met while preventing ecological destruction around the planet.

UNEP director Achim Steiner said the world was "drawing down to the very capital" on which it relies.

However, "our institutions, our governments are perfectly capable of changing course, as we have seen with the extraordinary uptake of interest. Around, I think it is almost 30 countries now have engaged with us directly, and there are many others revising the policies on the green economy," he said.

Collapse of fish stocks is not only an environmental matter.

One billion people, mostly from poorer countries, rely on fish as their main animal protein source, according to the UN.

The Green Economy report estimates there are 35 million people fishing around the world on 20 million boats. About 170 million jobs depend directly or indirectly on the sector, bringing the total web of people financially linked to 520 million.

According to the UN, 30 percent of fish stocks have already collapsed, meaning they yield less than 10 percent of their former potential, while virtually all fisheries risk running out of commercially viable catches by 2050.

The main scourge, the UNEP report says, are government subsidies encouraging ever bigger fishing fleets chasing ever fewer fish -- with little attempt to allow the fish populations to recover.

Fishing fleet capacity is "50 to 60 percent" higher than it should be, Sukhdev said.

"What is scarce here is fish," he said, calling for an increase in the stock of fish, not the stock of fishing capacity."

Creating marine preservation areas to allow female fish to grow to full size, thereby hugely increasing their fertility, is one vital solution, the report says.

Another is restructuring the fishing fleets to favor smaller boats that -- once fish stocks recover -- would be able to land bigger catches.

"We believe solutions are on hand, but we believe political will and clear economics are required," Sukhdev said.

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Killer Whales Eating Dolphins of Australia's South Coast

Some interesting happening with Killer Whales off Australia's South Coast of late. This MP3 recording from Australia's ABC NEWS explains MP3 file
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