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Jerry Vovcsko

First dunked a worm in Otsego Lake (upstate NY) some 68 years ago and began pursuing striped bass in Cape Cod waters 40 years ago. Pretty soon I should be able to get it right...maybe.

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February 21, 2013

And You Thought Eels Were For Bait!

by Jerry Vovcsko

New Hampshire officials say two people climbed to safety when their pickup truck crashed through ice on Lake Winnipesaukee. Police in Meredith said two people were driving the truck back to shore from an ice fishing shack Saturday night when it plunged through the ice near the boat launch on Meredith Bay. The two people escaped injury by climbing out the back window of the pickup truck, which went 8 feet underwater. Their names were not released. Officials said it took a crew three hours to pull the truck out of the water.

Moral of that story is pretty simple: Don't drive pickup trucks out onto the ice unless you've got enough ice under you to support King Kong. Even better? Walk out to the fishing shack and pull a sled if there's a lot of equipment to be moved; the exercise will do you good and there's less chance of ending up down there WITH the fish.

Locally, we seem to have settled into a cycle of a few mild days followed by wind driven frigid temperatures in the single digits and then snow that dissipates thanks to the heavy rains that follow. Not especially conducive to comfortable fishing activity. But we're slowly putting winter behind us and spring is just around the corner so it won't be long before our thoughts turn to the salt water scene and the annual striped bass migration into our neck of the woods.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the world strange days are playing out and it doesn't get much stranger than in Auckland, New Zealand, where an Auckland City Hospital reported that a man was treated for removal of an eel in his body. The hospital spokesman said "No further comment will be made out of respect for the person's right to privacy."

It's unclear how the eel (described as "about the size of a decent sprig of asparagus") got inside the man, but the patient was treated successfully and released. It was not clear how the eel had found its way inside the man. According to the newspaper, eels are secretive, nocturnal and prefer habitats with plenty of cover. Now maybe a story like that would have shocked a staid gentleman such as Sir Isaac Walton, but that wily, old angler Sigmund Freud would most likely have had a heyday speculating about the circumstances around this New Zealand gent's emergency room visit.

And how about Beijing, China resident Zhang Nan who had to have Chinese doctors remove an eel from inside his bladder? It got there through his penis during a strange spa treatment that the Los Angeles Times describes as "similar to those unusual pedicures that have fish eat dead skin off people's feet -- except that you're fully submerged, and you're probably naked, and there are eels all over you."

Now there's an image that I hope to get rid of as quickly as possible. I'll keep the flaking skin, thank you very much, and the spa can keep their eels or use them for sushi for all I care. But at least both Nan and the New Zealand man were fortunate to escape their predicaments with their lives. In 2010, it was reported that "a Chinese man died from internal bleeding after an after an eel was inserted into his rectum, apparently as a practical joke."

Practical joke? Nossir, I know practical jokes and the main thing about them is when they're over, everybody's still alive. Anyhow, if it's strange you're looking for, seems like eels are the way to go. Who knew?

There's another snowstorm heading our way this weekend and the Cape is due for 2-4 inches if we can believe the weather guys. But that will melt out quickly because milder temperatures are following close behind. A lot of the ice that makes access difficult should be off the ponds and there are trout ready to feed in ponds such as Spectacle and Triangle in Sandwich. The broodstock salmon in Cliff and Sheeps ponds down in Brewster remain hungry and some of those fish tip ten pounds or better these days. Pickerel are everywhere a weed bed can be found and if nothing else, they will smash a lure with power and aggressiveness. Bass are down deep in most places and a savvy angler will locate the thermocline and fish a little above that depth…shiners being very attractive to the largemouths.

And finally, ownership tells us the Red Sox are going to do Big Things this year…I dunno about that. From what I can see, they have a pretty decent bullpen, assuming no injuries. But if the success of the starting rotation depends on John Lackey rising from the Tommy- John graveyard like some sort of Fenway Park Lazarus, it could be a VERY long season. And whither goest, hundred million dollar man, Daisuke Matsuzaka? We hardly knew ye…

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