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Dangerous Fish to Eat

The area of the East Coast of Florida where I live is currently being polluted by a vile blue/green algae that is killing the local fish and stinking to high heaven. It has the consistency of guacamole and is caused by runoff contaminants flowing from Lake Okeechobee. This algae is not only getting the fish sick, but also the people exposed to it. This is a reoccurring problem seems to happen every year that south Florida gets above average rainfall levels. Whatever the cause is, it is certainly not good for our fishery, our health and may result in millions of tourism dollars that will be lost if the problem is not resolved soon.

This pollution problem got me to thinking about the various fish that may live through the pollution in their environment and pass those pollutants onto us fish loving, seafood eating enthusiasts.

Some time on the internet allowed me to come up with some of the most toxic fish that are swimming in our local area. The main contaminant in the fish mentioned below is mercury. Mercury is very poisonous to humans and accumulates in predatory fish as they prey upon other contaminated species of fish. As we eat the contaminated fish this mercury accumulates in our bodies as well.

Mercury has many deleterious effects upon humans. The 3 most serious are:

• Brain damage
• Liver damage
• Kidney damage

The fish that tend to have the most mercury in their tissue are listed below. These fish include:

• Kingfish (king mackerel)
• Cobia
• Sharks
• Albacore tuna
• Spanish mackerel
• Marlin
• Swordfish
• Bluefish
• Tilefish
• Amberjacks

There are still some delicious fish out there that typically do not have high mercury levels. These fish include:

• Dolphin (mahi)
• Flounder
• Vermillion Snapper
• Tripletails
• Triggerfish

The fish mentioned in this article are not necessarily bad to eat in moderation. Just like with most things in life moderation is the key to health. This article was meant to be looked at as a public service notice to those of us that eat a lot of fish. If you love to eat king mackerel, you still can but maybe eating it every day would be a bad idea.

Another thing that should be taken into consideration is that fact that fish are typically high in selenium. Selenium actually breaks down mercury in the body. This is probably why eating high mercury fish in moderation typically doesn’t cause too many health problems for most people.

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How to Catch a Spotted Seatrout

The first step to use when targeting any species of fish is to learn what they like. Spotted seatrout like;

• Grass flats
• Oyster bars
• Abundant prey offerings

The best place to find a spotted seatrout is by far the grass flats. These fish inhabit the inshore saltwater estuaries throughout the southern regions of the United States of America. Typically, if you can find a few acres of healthy sea grass, you will also find trout. Their entire life cycle occurs within the inshore environment. They will typically be caught in water depths of six feet or less. Sometimes they can be found in water less than 12 inches deep.

The second best inshore environment to find your target species is near an oyster bar. Oyster bars are excellent places to target these fish because a healthy oyster bar is a haven for small shrimp, crabs and small fish. Large oyster bars are also an exceptional environmental indicator for a healthy water system. Oysters do not thrive unless the waters they reside in are clean and healthy. If you want to target these fish, you should seek out healthy grass flats or healthy oyster bars.

The third indicator a fisherman should seek out for potential spotted seatrout haunts is bait schools. If you can find a school of any of the following species, you will most likely find your target species. Their favorites seem to be shrimp followed closely by sardines, glass minnows and pilchards. Larger trout seem to like large mullet and pin fish offerings best.

The 3 best lures to catch a spotted seatrout depends upon the fisherman, but this fisherman prefers the following;

• Scented soft plastics combines with a red jig head
• Gold spoons
• Any imitation mullet lure

Scented soft plastics used in combination with a jig head is this fisherman’s favorite when it comes to catching these fish. This species of fish loves to hit the jig on the fall as it covers the water column up and down. When the water is colder a slower jigging technique and a slower retrieve is necessary. When the water temperatures are above 70 degrees a faster retrieve will often work better.

Gold spoons catch just about every fish in the ocean. This ancient fishing lure works very well. They come in a normal version with a treble hook but they can also be found with weed less versions. A fisherman should decide which is best for the fishing conditions they are experiencing.

Any imitation mullet lure will catch larger fish. The walk-the-dog type of mullet imitations work best for this fisherman but the suspending and sinking versions will also work well depending upon the water depth. There are also soft plastic imitation mullet lures that will work very well. Just cast this lure into a school a mullet and wait for the strike.

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Skills That I Learned From Swimming

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else. ” – Albert Einstein.

After some time pondering this quote from Einstein, I realized that Einstein was not just referring to a game of sports, but also life and work experiences. My lifestyle choice as a swimmer started when I was around 12 years old. I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere and swimming, just meant cooling off in the river on our farm. The farm was too far from town in order for us to be High school day students. Going to High school meant boarding school.

In my first year of High school, I did gymnastics, but hurt my ankle and I felt doomed as I really would have liked to take gymnastics further. Physical Training back in the seventies meant just that – all kids in the school regardless of ability had to run around the field, play rugby, do athletics, swim, gymnastics, hockey and whatever other sport was available. (I believe nowadays it is optional in schools to play sports).

The school’s swimming pool did not have heaters, which resulted in swimming being a summer-only activity as the winters were quite cold. There was also no swim team 1978 and in general, most of the female students looked for a way out of swimming. It was not the case for me – I was in heaven as soon as my body hit the water.

This is where my love for water and swimming started. At first, it was just swimming for the hour odd during PT. Our routine in Boarding school included afternoon rest, study hall, an hour of sport, showering, dinner, late study and lights out – of course for each activity a bell rang. As a water addict, the hour of swimming in PT was just not enough for me. I wanted more, so when all the athletes went to the athletic field, I went back to the pool on my own to get some more training. There were no Coach, no program, just the pool and endless laps which I swam.

Soon the two sessions a day were also not enough and I started staying after school for the rest break before study hall. 45-minute training session, rush off to make study hall just in time. The Western Province in South Africa is a very hot and dry place in summer. We did not have the luxury of air conditioners in study hall, just those huge roof fans that go “Whoop, whoop” all the time and barely cool anybody down. Swimming for 45 minutes before study hall was great – while everybody else was sweating, I felt refreshed and could concentrate on studying in the heat.

One day during one of my training sessions, a teacher arrived at the school’s swimming pool with her two boys, aged around 7 and 5. I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach (the type you get when you are in a lift) when the teacher arrived and I thought she was going to report me to the Boarding school’s Principal. To my surprise, we started talking and she said that she completed a coaching course, so if I want to, I could train with her two boys. That was music to my ears. The rest became history.

That was 37 years ago. The only times that I did not swim in these 37 years, were when I had injuries, broke fingers, a broken leg and expected my baby. Oh, not to forget the times I left at 2 am for work and got home only at 21:00 pm that night as a representative. Needless to say, I took to the pool at every opportunity I could regardless of the circumstances, depending on pool availability of course.

Reflecting on this lifetime of swimming, professional life and now the job title of Swim Mom, I realize that swimming brings more to the table than just being active, feeling good due to exercise and, of course, controlling weight. Swimming success leads to other success in life. You just need to love the sport and in my opinion, it will contribute to your lifestyle, career and everything else in the following ways:

  1. Set goals and objectives and work towards achieving it.
  2. Plan your life and live your plan.
  3. Do not procrastinate.
  4. Keep records and interpret results.
  5. Adjust your plan if and when needed.
  6. Swim faster and you have more time for rest – work smart and you will have spare time for personal pursuits.
  7. Do it properly, then it is easy – whichever task you undertake, normally, if you work smart and work correctly it makes the job easier. If you execute strokes correctly, it will make the distances you have to train easier.
  8. Keep your routine.
  9. Do what you love.
  10. Enjoy whatever you do and the results will speak for itself.
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All About Kayak Fishing

The cons:

• Back aches
• Hard to sight fish sitting down
• Getting wet

The first con of kayak fishing is the inevitable back aches that come from sitting for hours on end. This is not to say that the seats in kayaks are uncomfortable because they are usually very comfortable. The backaches come for sitting too long. Sitting at a desk all day has the same effect. Standing up every now and again or getting out of the kayak to stretch can alleviate this con.

The low elevation of the yak fisherman is another con when trying to sight fish. The higher the elevation of the fisherman the more he will be able to see. The close to the water stance of a yak hinders the ability to see fish. Many of the new sit on top style yaks are stable enough to allow for standing which fixes the elevation issue.

Yak fishermen can expect to get wet. Kayak fishing is a wet style of fishing. The fish will be splashing and the scupper holes allow water to flow into and out of the kayak. That is just the way it is.

Now let’s look at the pros of yak fishing.

The pros:

• Low cost barrier to entry
• Stealthy
• Launch/fish anywhere
• Anyone can do it
• Low maintenance

Kayaks are relatively cheap compared to other fishing vessels. A decent not too fancy kayak set up for fishing will usually run less than one thousand dollars. There are kayaks with pedal drive and all of the bells and whistles that may cost close to three thousand dollars but a basic fishing kayak should cost less than one thousand dollars.

The ability to be stealthy is a definite pro for this style of fishing. A trolling motor is not as quite as everyone thinks. Fish can hear very well and often are spooked by the hum of a trolling motor. Kayaks don’t have that problem and can easily sneak up on fish.

The ability to launch and fish from anywhere is a major advantage. This fisherman likes to find areas that are not pressured by other fishermen. The key is to fish where the fish are and the fishermen aren’t. Fishing kayaks are perfect for this.

Anyone without physical handicaps can fish from a kayak. The physical requirements are the ability to sit and paddle at the same time. This ranks on a difficulty scale with walking while chewing gum. Very little athletic ability is necessary for kayak fishing.

Kayaks are very low maintenance. Once a fisherman gets their kayak set up the way they like it most of the work is done. There is very little that can go wrong with a sturdily built fishing kayak.

In conclusion, kayak fishing is an inexpensive, fun and easy to get outside and catch a ton of fish. So get out there and do it.

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Benefits of Fishing

It is hard to successfully dispute the benefits of fishing, so why not give it a try to discover how much fun it really is? States like Nevada, California and Texas discovered “Take Me Fishing” campaigns resulted in more anglers. Vermont reported an increase in urban anglers with the “Reel Fun Vermont”, in addition to an upsurge in anglers 20 to 30 years of age.

Fishing is a group and an individual sport regardless of a person’s age. People are intrigued enough to gather around and watch others land fish. Companies make beginning angler kits for tots and toddlers so they can participate in the action. Additional reasons people enjoy this outdoor activity include fresh air, sunshine and vitamin D. A few of the most popular reasons are given below.

Reduce stress. Fish along the shore of a river, stream or lake. Cast out into the surf from the beach. Relax in your boat while fishing the pond. You may hear birds singing and see butterflies flit from flower to flower while you sit under a shady tree waiting for a bump or tug on the line. Enjoy a pressure-free day and have fun.

Sneak in simple aerobics and exercise. Exercise starts with moving from the vehicle to the water. You’ll probably carry a cooler in addition to your tackle box and fishing rod. Wading in the water is a form of low-impact exercise and less stressful on ankle, knee and hip joints than hiking. Casting lures is a good aerobic activity that promotes cardiovascular health!

Increase and renew agility and dexterity. Tying on a hook or lure takes skill. It also requires small, intricate movements that refresh the body’s fine motor skills. Casting the line out, reeling the line in, and moving the pole are activities that require muscles you may not use very often.

Discover your place in the environment. Outdoor skills like map reading and guiding yourself with a compass are part of the talents of an experienced angler. Learn to recognize signs that indicate pending change in weather. Fishing requires the knowledge to identify different varieties of fish, as well as learn their habitat. Participate in surveys and seminars sponsored by local groups and government agencies while you make a positive difference in the ecosytem.

Socialize. There’s no reason to be home alone. Most anglers enjoy swapping stories about the one that got away and favorite fishing holes. Fishing is a sport for people of all ages. Admire a child’s first catch. Discuss the pros and cons of catch and release programs with a park ranger. Participate in a charter trip to get more tips about the fun and excitement of an activity that has been practiced for thousands of years.

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