Howdy everyone! We’ve had more amazing weather lately with sunshine and low to mid-60s, not to be confused with the Midwest and their negative mid-60s. This is with the windchill factored in mind you, but regardless I still think we win in terms of best weather in America this winter.
Folks are catching steelhead and we’ve had some great ocean days with lots of lingcod and rockfish as well as crab. In the bay the crabbing is still good but the rockfish has slowed down lately and there’s one or two seals that are stealing most everyone’s catch.
Its also sports-show season and don’t forget to come and say hi to me in Roseburg Feb. 15 to Feb. 17.
I’ll be the guy with the cowboy hat and microphone getting in trouble with the event promoter.
Last year, I kept announcing that Jody Smith (guide extraordinaire by the way) was going to attempt to break his world record of juggling a dozen live trout at the ODFW demonstration tank. Jody of course holds no such record that I am aware of and I’m pretty sure the ODFW would not really let anyone juggle the trout.
Truth be told I have never seen Jody juggle any fish and I would like to take this moment to challenge him to do it. I would even accept frozen herring as a suitable juggling … thing … whatever they’re called.
The people have spoken Jody, do not disappoint us.
This week the amazing Charleston Marine Life Center released their resident octopus Octavius back into the wilds from which it came.
This past May, the Center got a tiny little octopus that soon became their star attraction but with Octavius’ fame also came the burdens of life in the public eye, soon rumors of substance abuse abounded and several lawsuits — no, sorry, that’s Kevin Spacey.
Octavius soon outgrew his tank and plans were put in place to release him back home. Permits were acquired, staff were briefed, plans were drawn and finally the day came. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Trish, the head honcho of the CMLC, over the past few years and I can say I’ve never seen her so nervous. After all there’s not really a manual on how to remove an octopus from its tank and release it into the wild.
Well, I guess there is now, thanks to Trish and her amazing staff. A net was fashioned from a fishing net frame (from Basin Tackle no less) and a bed sheet. This was done to avoid Octavius getting snagged or cut on a net’s mesh.
A redrock crab was dangled at the top of the tank and as the star of the show went up to grab it’s snack the net was gently placed around him.
He was scooped up and placed in a large container with circulating sea-water and “poof” the next thing you know he was back home telling friends and family of his abduction and captivity.
This of course will lead to a life of solitude and younger octopus referring to him as “crazy old man Octavius with the abduction stories.”
Now for some science stuff.
Octopus are “cephalopods” which are defined as large predatory mollusks, squid are also cephalopods but not near as cool or creepy.
In our area we have the Red Octopus and the Giant Pacific Octopus, which is the largest octopus species in the world. When they are young, the two species can only be told apart by three little bumps below the eye of the red octopus. At maturity the red octopus weighs in at 1.5 pounds at the most, while the giant Pacific weighs in at about fifty-to-ninety pounds at the very high end. This means every large octopus that has been caught over about a pound and a half is of the giant Pacific variety.
These animals are amazing to interact with and throw back, save for lingcod bait or smoke and eat. I have smoked some of them in the back of the shop and they are amazing — although I honestly don’t know if I can eat another one after having several interactions with these amazing creatures.
Octopus live in rocky areas and love to make a home in a small pocket or cave and feed on clams, snails, small crab and fish.
Some interesting facts about octopus are that they have three hearts and up to 200 suckers on each arm.
The giant Pacific octopus lives three to six years. The red octopus can and will bite you given the chance, mostly because they have “little octopus syndrome” and want to show you who’s boss. They are also sometimes belligerent at parties.
There’s a lot more to these amazing creatures than space allows me to write but I hope this sheds a little light on another one of our amazing species in our amazing place we call home.