The Sportsman’s World — Of Flounder and Sheepheads

By Leon Archer

I was just this week talking with a friend in Florida about fishing.

I was interested specifically in the fishing in the Indian River Lagoon, because it had been so poor the past couple of years. He told me it was still nothing to get excited about in the Sebastian area, but it was a little better than last year.

Apparently some sea grass has started to grow here and there on the sand flats. He said it is a red grass, but it must be better than nothing. Grass makes all the difference in the river fishing.

I can’t begin to remember the number of times I’ve grumbled about the grass back when it was thick, and I had to keep removing it from my lures or bait. How I wish it were that way again.

Most of the grass then was some shade of pale green depending on the species and area it was growing in. There were patches of the red grass even then, but not any great amount of it.

When I fished in and around the grassy patches, I caught fish and grass. When I avoided grassy areas, I came up with less grass, but I also caught a lot fewer fish.

The reasons are simple. The grass acts as a nursery for small fish and crabs, providing food and cover. Most people would not believe the huge number of organisms that can inhabit a relatively small patch of grass, many of them are the microscopic creatures that baby fish and crabs capture for their early meals.

Just as the grass provides food and cover for the smaller inhabitants, at the same time it provides cover for larger fish who prey on the smaller, and so it goes right up the old food chain. But without that first link made of grass, the chain never forms.

I sure hope the grass makes a strong comeback. Even though I am not in Florida this winter, I certainly plan to be back there next winter, and I’d like to find the fishing better than I did the last two years.

My friend was telling me that it had been a good winter for sheepshead and flounder. They aren’t the kind of fish that prowl the grass beds.

The sheepies hang around docks and pilings. They seldom eat fish. Their teeth are made for nipping barnacles and small oysters off pilings. They are also fond of crabs, shrimp and sand fleas. They aren’t the easiest things to hook, being probably the most proficient bait stealers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

They are well worth pursuing, because they rival snappers for their table qualities. They are yummy.

The flounder are occasionally found in the grass, but more likely, if they are there at all, they will lurk just outside the beds waiting for an unwary small fish to wander out to see what the big world outside the grass looks like.

Flounder are fast predators when they strike, and a small fish seldom gets a do-over. Flounder are more often found on the flats at the edge of channels and in inlets where the current constantly brings them small fish struggling to hold their place in the fast tide water.

Flounder are fun to fish for, and the greatest challenge is to keep from getting hung up on bottom as one fishes. Most fishing is done with mud minnows or finger mullet kept near the bottom with a sinker weighing two to four ounces.

The bait needs to move back with the current until it is right in front of the waiting flounder. If everything goes right, and one has a bit of luck, a tap and then a feeling of weight almost like being hung up, will be transmitted up the line to the rod. Sometimes it is a false signal and one is actually hung up on bottom, but when the rod responds with a throbbing bend when the hook is set, it becomes worth all the time and effort.

Flounder are wonderful table fare, and one that weighs seven or eight pounds will feed a family with some left over for a snack later. They are mild and do not have the delicate flavor of the sheepshead or snapper.

I have never caught a lot of southern flounder, but I have caught enough to appreciate everything about them. They are a great fish, and the lack of grass has not had as negative an effect on them as it has with fish like the spotted sea trout.

I have enjoyed my time in Washington with our grandson, but I sure have missed Florida. I haven’t missed the weather Fulton has been getting, however.

Stay warm. Spring is coming.

Oswego honors scholar-athletes

Submitted by the Oswego school district

A number of Buccaneer varsity teams who achieved New York State Public High School Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete Awards for fall sports.

All recognized fall varsity teams earned the academic honors.

Two of the teams accumulated an average above 96 percent while three other teams were above 95 percent.

The girls’ varsity tennis team achieved a 96.794 cumulative average and included Allison Moshier, Abigail Allen, Molly Malone, Brenna Sherman, Samantha Davis, Kelly Skinner, Kennedy Singletary, Emilee Anderson, Sydney Knight, Katie Knopp, Krysta Broeker and Meredith Chesare.

The other team earning a 96 percent plus average was the girls’ swimming and diving team with a 96.398. Team members are included Nina Alcasid, Elizabeth Baker, Mayra Lopez, Ayla Busch, Erin Delaney, Clare Donovan, Katie Volkomer, Magie Maas, Brooke Morrisseau, Caitlyn Daniels, Olivia DeLorenzo, Catie Geroux, Colleen Fraser, Elaina Rando, Hailey Ihlow, Carrie Gilbert and Mariah Metcalf.

A 95.973 percent average was accumulated by the girls’ varsity volleyball team and the members earning academic honors included Reilly Patrick, Sarah Fitzgibbons, Erica Atkins, Allie Henderson, Madison Collins, Shanell Meyers, Isabella Winklestine, Natasha Mezza, Kellie Gorman and Marguerite Dillon.

A 95.126 average was accomplished by the boys’ varsity soccer team and included were Jacob Gerber, Conner Sheffield, Alexander Kouthoofd, Kyle Collins, Leighton Smith, David DeLand, Sean Benjamin, Kyle Kemper, Craig Lawton, Mark Taormina, Santiago Orta, Liam Peterson, Jacob Gardner and Jonathan Buske.

The third team earning a 95 percent average was the girls’ varsity cross country team with a 95.011 percent average behind the academic work of Lainey Celeste, Mallory Gordon, Kyra O’Gorman, Megan Livoti, Vanessa Wiltsie and Chloe Patterson.

Earning a 94.299 percent average was the varsity football team and included Garrett Skinner, Ryan Kearns, Justin Canale, Cody Cheeley, Mitchell Schrader, Alex Makin, Zachary Bush, Garrett Dunsmoor, Kory McTague, Trey Love, Ryan Lavner, Andrew Osetek, Edward Sheridan and Brandon Foley.

The boys’ varsity cross country team achieved a 93.446 percent with Paul Oleyourryk, Patrick Baer, Dalton Babcock, Stephen Waite, Christian Davis, Evan James, Austin Attwood, Nathan Greene and Avery Croucher.

A 92.960 percent average was earned by the girls’ varsity soccer team with Claudia Chetney, Nora Culeton, Kerrigan Cummins, Caroline Dougherty, Olivia Dowdle, Hannah Fitzgerald, Sarah Hoefer, Michaela Moran, Morgan Mulkerin, Rachael Purtell, grace Gilbert and Claire Richardson.

The golf team had a 91.484 percent average due to the work of Alex Kunzwiler, Sam Oleyourryk, Alex Kemper, Sean Dain, Josh Dumas, Eric Demidowicz, Bryce Horigan, Noah Lee, Corey Stevens, Brandon Tracz and Donovan Roy.

The boys’ varsity volleyball team average of 90.854 percent was achieved by Joshua Carney, Zachary Gillard, Logan Krass, Trevor Bradshaw, Trey Clark, Patrick Dillon, Drazen Schrecengost and Michael Edwards.

Fulton girls’ hoops loses 2 of last 3

By Rob Tetro

The Fulton girls’ varsity basketball team went 1-2 in its last 3 games and now have an overall record of 5-9.

On Jan. 24, Fulton rolled past Fowler, 50-29. Corcoran came away with a 48-40 win over the Lady Raiders Jan. 28. Chittenango held off Fulton, 43-41 Jan. 29.

Fulton got off to an impressive start in the Fowler game, outscoring their opponents by 14 points during the first quarter.

Even though Fowler cut into their lead during the second quarter, the Lady Raiders took a 23-10 lead into halftime.

Fulton added to its lead during the third quarter, outscoring Fowler by 7 points to push its lead to 20 points. The Lady Raiders outscored Fowler during the fourth quarter to cap off a 50-29 win.

Fulton was led by Nicole Hansen with 23 points, followed by Michaela Whiteman with 9, Sydney Gilmore with 7 and Courtney Parker added 5 points.

In the Corcoran game, the first period ended pretty even, with Corcoran leading by only 3. Then Corcoran added to its lead in the second quarter, outscoring Fulton to take a 25-21 halftime lead.

After both teams scored 12 points each during the third quarter, Corcoran had maintained its 4-point lead. But Corcoran was a little too much down the stretch, outscoring Fulton by 4 points to win by 8.

Leading the way for the Lady Raiders was Sydney Gilmore with 10 points, followed by Nicole Hansen with 8, Michaela Whiteman with 6, Courtney Parker chipped in 5 and Jennah Lamb, Mallory Clark added 4 points each and Hunter Hartranft chipped in 3 points.

Fulton jumped out to a 6-point lead over Chittenango during the first quarter of their game. Chittenango outscored the Lady Raiders during the second quarter, but Fulton still had a 24-19 headed into halftime.

Chittenango pulled ahead during the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Raiders by 8 points to take a 3-point lead. Then the Chittenango scoring machine continued in the fourth quarter and they beat Fulton by 2 points.

Fulton was led by Nicole Hansen with 17 points, followed by Courtney Parker and Michaela Whiteman with 9 points each.

Local students earn master’s degrees at SUNY Oswego

Several local residents completed their graduate studies in December at SUNY Oswego and were recognized Dec. 14 at the college’s commencement.

Ashley Ackerman of Kaine Road in Altmar (Master of Science in Education, literacy education)

Marianne Hirsh of P.O. Box 55 in Cato (Master of Science in Education, special education)

Shannon Blumer of Shanty Creek Road in Central Square (Master of Science in Education, literacy education)

William DePaolo of Honey Hill Road in Fulton (Master of Science in Education, technology education)

Nicole Jackowski of Silk Road in Fulton (Master of Science in Education, special education)

Rachel Mocyk of County Route 3 in Fulton (Master of Science in Education, literacy education)

Lori Moreth of Kellogg Road in Hannibal (Master of Science, mental health counseling)

Bethany Simmons of State Route 104A in Hannibal (Master of Science in Education, literacy education)

Samantha Carioti of P.O. Box 236 in Phoenix (Master of Business Administration, management)

Jessica Schauer of Oswego River Road in Phoenix (Master of Business Administration, accounting)

Stacey Petersen of County Route 2 in Pulaski (Master of Science in Education, literacy education)

A 153-year-old comprehensive college in the State University of New York system, Oswego enrolls about 8,000 students in its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; School of Business; School of Communication, Media and the Arts; and School of Education.

 

Cardiologist speaks during Heart Month

As part of Oswego Health’s heart-healthy activities during February, board-certified cardiologist Thomas Grady Jr., will be the guest speaker at an Ask the Doctor presentation at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18.

His presentation will be held in the lower level JPC conference room of the Oswego Health Services Center, which is adjacent to Oswego Hospital.

During this latest Ask the Doctor program, Grady will discuss how to be heart healthy and the importance of a cardiac rehab program for those who have had a heart event.

Grady’s past programs on heart-related issues have been very informative and educational.

An accomplished physician in his specialty and affiliated with SJH Cardiology Associates, Grady is providing care to Oswego Hospital patients and has office hours for community members in suite 270 of the Oswego Health Services Center. He can be reached at 349-5752.

Grady earned his undergraduate degree from the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and attended medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine.

At Tufts, he was presented several major awards, including the Zarren Family Award for Excellence in Clinical Cardiology and the Hewlett Packard Award for Excellence in Internal Medicine.

He also served as president of Alpha Omega Alpha, an honor society for medical students and was the college’s representative to the American Heart Association.

Following medical school, he served in the U.S. Navy where he completed his first internship. After his honorable discharge, Grady completed his internship and residency training at Duke University Medical Center.

He fulfilled his fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

“This was a great experience where I worked alongside cutting-edge technology and individuals who were the best in their fields,” Grady said.

He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a member of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

The Ask The Doctor Forum is a free presentation sponsored by the Oswego Health Community Development Office.

The Ask The Doctor Forum is designed to create an open dialogue between health care providers/professionals and interested members of the greater Oswego County community.

For more information on the forum,  call 349-5500.

Students see the ugly truth behind cigarette smoking

If vanity will prevent local students from smoking, staff members from Oswego Health are ready to demonstrate some ugly facts.

Oswego Health’s Susan Callaway and Rachel Baglia, both registered nurses and community educators, showed seventh-graders at Fulton Junior High School firsthand how smoking could change their appearance, if they smoked into their 60s.

The nurse educators first discussed the dangers of smoking cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

They also shared advertising tactics used by tobacco companies to encourage youths to smoke and discussed the cost of cigarettes, which at about $10 a pack, could add up to $3,000 during a year.

But it was special age-progression software that sent the students the biggest message.

Using this software on loan from the Rural Health Network of Oswego County, a picture was taken of a student in each class. On a computer screen the students were shown how their classmate would look if he/she smoked to age 65.

When the students were shown how unattractive their fellow student would look if he/she smoked until their mid-60s, most were quite surprised.

This is the second year that Oswego Health’s nurse educators have visited the seventh-grade health classrooms of Dan Stadtmiller and Dan Gilmore.

“When our students walk out into the real world, they tend to forget the dangers of smoking and this helps them have a lasting impression,” said Dan Stadtmiller.

He added that last year’s program was very well received by the students.

“I can pull any of our eighth graders from the hallway today and they will say they remember this program from last year,” Stadtmiller said.

He also shared that the smoking cessation program was the student’s favorite outside presentation last year. “They remembered it and it stuck with them and I think that’s the most important thing,” he said.

The nurse educators are expected to provide similar programs later this year to junior-high age students in both the Hannibal and Oswego City school districts.

 

‘Safe haven’ meeting set for Feb. 11 in Fulton

By Ashley M. Casey

The Catholic Daughters of America, Court Pere LeMoyne #833, are holding an informational meeting about the “Safe Haven” program at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Fulton Municipal Building.

Timothy Jaccard, founder of the AMT Children of Hope, will present a program and answer questions about an anonymous, safe drop-off system for unwanted infants.

In July 2010, New York state updated the 2000 Abandoned Infant Protection Act to remove criminal liability for parents who surrender unwanted infants to a “safe location,” usually a hospital, fire station or police department.

A person may drop off an infant less than 30 days old — no questions asked  — as long as the child does not show any sign of being abused or harmed.

Patty Mancino, regent of the local Catholic Daughters of America chapter, saw Jaccard speak at a statewide Catholic Daughters of America conference last April.

After Catholic Daughters of America Program Coordinator Teresa Kempston contacted Jaccard with questions about his Safe Haven program, Jaccard offered to come speak in Fulton.

Jaccard sent promotional materials, and Catholic Daughters of America has been spreading the word across the area through decals on Menter Ambulances.

“He’s the one that has worked so hard into making the law,” Mancino said of Jaccard.

In January 2011, Liverpool police found a newborn girl who had suffocated to death in a Dumpster.

The child’s mother was sentenced to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter in her daughter’s death.

Safe Haven programs, which are available across the country, have been instituted to give parents a legal alternative to abandoning and risking the lives of their infants.

“Upstate, it hasn’t caught on like it has in other parts of the state,” said Fulton Mayor Ronald L. Woodward Sr.

He said the meeting would serve to educate local agencies about the “Safe Haven” program and how agencies and organizations can  become a safe drop-off location.

Mancino said Kempston has invited area fire departments, local legislators and the Greater Fulton Area Council of Christian Churches to the Feb. 11 meeting.

“You can’t just leave a baby on a step or a porch. It’s not safe,” Mancino said. “There’s got to be some help out there to save these lives.”

Mancino said the idea has piqued the interest of several local fire departments. The general public is invited as well.

“The more you sit at the dinner table and discuss these controversial topics is how you get them out there,” she said.

“I think it’s good that people are educated, and young girls know they have an alternative,” Woodward said. “We’d certainly feel very, very bad if something like that happened in this community when there were other alternatives.”

Mancino acknowledged that training Oswego County agencies to be Safe Haven locations is a big endeavor.

“It’s got to start someplace. Baby steps,” she said.

For more information about the Safe Haven informational meeting, call Catholic Daughters Regent Patty Mancino at 598-9748.

 

BOX:

Need help?

To find the Safe Haven location nearest to you, call AMT Children of Hope’s anonymous, confidential hotline at 877-796-HOPE (4673).

To learn about safe drop-off locations under the Abandoned Infant Protection Act, call 866-505-SAFE (7233).

Visit the New York state Office of Children and Family Services website at ocfs.ny.gov for more resources.

 

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