Monday, January 31, 2011

Fishing Presidents: Gerald Ford

Fifth in a series of Fishing Presidents. Today, Gerald Ford
Taking a snooze while deep-sea fishing
during a vacation in the Bahamas.
Photo courtesy of Ford Library 

To be fair, the photo at the right is of Gerald Ford while on vacation in April 1966 when he was a Congressman, not the president. Also, Ford didn't take fishing quite as seriously as Herbert Hoover did.

Why should he? Fishing wasn't Ford's favorite hobby. That'd be golf, which he did about as well as he fished.

While researching my book "Celebrity Fish Talk," I managed to squeeze by two Secret Service agents to corral Ford on the driving range before he teed off at the Bob Hope Desert Classic one year. I asked him if he had a fishing story.

He said he wasn't into fishing, that he was always more into team sports. Then he walked off to the first tee to play an individual sport.

There was no documentation about Ford catching any fish on that April day in 1966. He definitely caught a nap, though.

Next week: Jimmy Carter

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Man gets sentenced to life ... without fishing

When the law tells you to fish with only one fishing rod, then you best follow the law and fish with only one fishing rod, lest you be prevented from fishing at all.

Viktor Liakh, here's your sign
Think we're joking? Then you need to hear the story of Viktor Liakh, who was banned from fishing for life after violating a court order.

According to a story in Monday's Toronto Star, the 61-year-old Liakh of North York was spotted fishing at the Holland River in Bradford last May. Conservation officers from the Ministry of Natural Resources checked his fishing license and discovered he was under a five-year fishing suspension for casting too many lines in January 2010.

Anglers are only permitted to use one line, according to Natural Resources conservation officer Doug Poirier.

Turns out, Liakh violated this regulation by casting up to four lines into the water not once, not twice but four times between 2002 and 2009.

For his latest indiscretion, Liahk was fined $3,000 and banned from fishing for life. Ouch.

Worse, if he is ever caught fishing again, Liahk could face time in jail.

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Fishing from a Cliff: Did he have enough line to reach the water?
Kayaker who paddled over a Niagra Falls-like waterfall preps for new adventure
Oddest help wanted ad ever! Shark officer?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Polar bear swims continuously for nine days

A swimming polar bear. Photo courtesy of The Telegraph-UK.

A new swimming sensation has taken the world’s stage and she is sure to put Michael Phelps to shame.

Her name? Ursus maritimus, or better known as a certain female polar bear that swam continuously for more than nine days, covering 426 miles.

Nature is a beautiful thing, sometimes.

What’s not so beautiful is the fact polar bears are being pushed to swim greater distances between ice floes in their hunt for seals because of increased melting of their habitat.
Photo courtesy Daily Mail Online-UK.

This changing environment is what presumably prompted scientists to study polar bears around the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska.

Their findings, published in Polar Biology, according to a Tuesday report on BBC Earth News, reveal the first evidence of long-distance swimming by polar bears.

Scientists fitted a GPS collar to a female bear and inserted a temperature logger beneath her skin. Then they plotted her movements -- including in and out of water -- for two months.

From the BBC:

“This bear swam continuously for 232 hours and 687 km [426 miles] and through waters that were 2-6 degrees C [36-43 F],” says research zoologist George M. Durner.

“We are in awe that an animal that spends most of its time on the surface of sea ice could swim constantly for so long in water so cold. It is truly an amazing feat.”

Although bears have been observed in open water in the past, this is the first time one's entire journey has been followed.
Photo courtesy of The Telegraph-UK.
The BBC reported that there was a high cost paid by the female bear: She lost 22 percent of her body fat in those two months and also lost her yearling cub, which was not mature enough to handle that long journey.

Durner told the BBC that conditions in Beaufort Sea have become increasingly difficult for polar bears:

“In prior decades, before 1995, low-concentration sea ice persisted during summers over the continental shelf in the Beaufort Sea.

“This means that the distances, and costs to bears, to swim between isolated ice floes or between sea ice and land was relatively small.

“The extensive summer melt that appears to be typical now in the Beaufort Sea has likely increased the cost of swimming by polar bears.”
Because polar bears rely on frozen sea ice to hunt, it is pretty easy to deduct what the scientists deducted.

“This dependency on sea ice potentially makes polar bears one of the most at-risk large mammals to climate change,” Durner told the BBC in what could be the understatement of this decade of global warming.

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Kayaker Tyler Bradt readies for Arctic Polartec Challenge

The expedition sounds daunting: Travel 1,400 miles across treacherous moving sea ice, glaciers and rocky coastline using kayaks, skis and sleds. The goal? To become the first to make a complete circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island, one of the closest points of land to the North Pole.

Tyler Bradt, Jon Turk and Erik Boomer, a trio of adventure seekers, just received one of four 2011 Polartec Challenge Grants for their springtime, Arctic endeavor.

Now, if you think this expedition sounds crazy, you need to know a little bit more about Tyler Bradt, a kayaker who in 2009 set an unofficial record for kayaking over a 189-foot waterfall, Palouse Falls in Eastern Washington. Crazy? Why, yes, it was crazy. People, Niagra Falls is 176-feet tall!

Even Bradt thought it was crazy, kinda. He said on the below video that "nobody even has come remotely close to running anything this big. I don't know. It's kinda crazy thinking about potentially running this thing."

Yet Bradt not only thought about running it, he did run it. See how it turns out here:

The video on was exquisitely produced by AuroraPhotos. The overhead footage showing Bradt in his kayak as he goes over the edge captures the intensity and speed of the whitewater. When he disappears in the cloud of mist, you find it hard to believe he could survive.

But, of course he does, otherwise he wouldn't be readying to make a 1,400-mile kayak/ski trip around an island in Northern Canada.

CNN recently featured Bradt and his epic journey over the waterfall. See the interview of this crazy kayaker here.

One thing is certain, Bradt will be hard-pressed to produce as dramatic video on his upcoming adventure as he did at Palouse Falls. But here's hoping he does.

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Fishing Presidents: Dwight Eisenhower
Surfing 'Jaws' at night; Aussie Mark Visser does it first
Oddest help wanted ad ever! Shark officer?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fishing Presidents: Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower fly-fishing. Photo courtesy of UCLA Library

Fourth in a series of Fishing Presidents. Today, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Fishing was among President Dwight D. Eisenhower's favorite hobbies. Seems he fished about as often as he played golf, the sport many associate with Ike. Still, there are numerous accounts of Eisenhower fishing, golfing, painting and, interestingly, cooking while he was in office.

For relaxation, fishing is hard to beat. Yet for Eisenhower, even a day on the water wasn't always a total escape from the harsh realities of life. Just ask former national spin-casting champion Neal Taylor, who once shared with me a story about he and Ike fishing on a river in 1960.

"I was scared to death," Taylor had recalled. "But five minutes after I met the man, I felt like I knew him forever. It was an incredible experience for me."

As they fished, Eisenhower suddenly stopped and waded over to the bank of the river and sat down. His elbow rested on his knee, his head in his hand. Taylor thought he was ill.

"Ike, what's wrong?" Taylor asked.

Eisenhower shook his head, looked up at Taylor and said, "Neal, there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about the men that lost their lives in Normandy."

Eisenhower, of course, was the supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe and responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of France and Germany in World War II.

Eisenhower and Nixon probably reliving
that fly-casting lesson Ike gave Nixon
On a lighter note, Eisenhower once tried to teach his vice-presidential running mate Richard Nixon how to cast with a fly rod.

Nixon's first cast hooked a tree limb. Nixon's second cast hooked a tree limb. Nixon's third cast hooked a tree limb. Nixon's fourth cast hooked Eisenhower's shirt, at which point the lesson ended.

Wrote Nixon in his book, "In the Arena": "I could see that he was disappointed because he loved fishing and could not understand why others did not like it as well as he did."

Nixon also wrote, "Fishing just isn't my bag."

Next week: Gerald Ford
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Surfing 'Jaws' at night; Aussie Mark Visser does it first
Fishing from a Cliff: Did he have enough line to reach the water?
Fisherman catches world-record yellowfin tuna

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ski Tibet video offers quick glimpse of culture, adventure

If you have about three minutes to kill, you could do worse than checking out this short skiing video called "Ski Tibet." It's a story about four skiers traveling half-way around the world to attempt a first ski descent of Shishapangma in Tibet.

It probably says more about the culture of the region than skiing the 14th-highest mountain in the world, at 26,292 feet.

Ski Tibet, created by Mark Fisher, Andy Tankersely and Eric Daft, offers a quick glimpse of Tibet filmed in this-ought-to-be-shown-at-a-film-festival quality. So much time was put into the short version, we assume there is also a long version. Still, much is said in the short version. 

See for yourself:

Thanks to Adventure World Magazine for the tip.

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
See what WikiLeaks will soon release about a fishing president
Ski flying: Another extreme sport getting off the ground
Oddest help wanted ad ever! Shark officer?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Surfing 'Jaws' at night; Aussie Mark Visser does it first

Surfing the famed "Jaws" in Maui and catching a 30-foot wave during the day is one thing, but catching a 30-foot wave at Jaws at night? Quite another matter, wouldn't you say?

Enter Mark Visser. The Aussie claims to have become the first to surf Jaws at night and here's the proof:

Thursday afternoon, Visser tweeted this:
surfed jaws 30-40ft at 2AM! scariest thing I've ever done in my life!!!! 

ESPN's Jack Howard wrote Thursday that "Australian lunatic Mark Visser threw caution to the offshore wind and went for it."

Well, that's one way of putting it. Here's how Visser described it (via ESPN):
"It wasn't until I saw the pictures I realized how big it was. This project has two years in the planning and it was the scariest, but most exciting thing I have ever done," said Visser in a prepared statement for the press. "Riding in complete darkness meant I had to go off of feeling. I had to zone out from how you normally ride and just be part of the wave. I am so pumped to achieve something that no one thought possible and that I was told couldn't be done."
According to ESPN, this was the first in a series of "world first" extreme adventures that Visser is attempting for a documentary titled "9 Lives."

So far Visser is 1-for-1.

Thanks to The Outside Blog for the tip.

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
See what WikiLeaks will soon release about a fishing president
Surfing legend Ken Bradshaw wipes out on North Shore
Maui shark-attack rescue caught on video

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Prince Harry to conquer North Pole, a cross-eyed opossum, a shark attack and other Call of the Wild headlines...

Prince Harry to trek to the North Pole...maybe
Photo of Prince Harry
from The Observer
Prince Harry is aiming to trek to the North Pole with two British soldiers who lost limbs fighting in Afghanistan. The two servicemen are attempting to become the first amputees to trek unaided to the pole, and will raise money for the Walking With the Wounded charity. The participation of Harry will no doubt elevate interest in this worthy cause. The expedition, which will face minus-60 temperatures and polar bears, is set to leave March 23. Harry will go as long as it doesn’t interfere with his military commitments and his brother’s wedding. Extreme Adventure News

Cross-eyed opossum making friends worldwide
The newest Internet sensation? Heidi, the cross-eyed opossum. The critter from Germany looks as if it stuck its tail in an electrical outlet, what with those bulging eyes. But those crossed eyes are what makes Heidi so adorable (see below video). No wonder more than 260,000 people have become a fan on Heidi’s Facebook page. She resides at the Leipzig Zoo. Look for a line of stuffed-animal opossums with crossed eyes coming soon. Seriously. ShiloTV

Fox turns gun on fox hunter
Clearly, this is a case of the fox outfoxing the fox hunter. In a story posted in the Vancouver Sun, a wounded fox shot its would-be killer by pulling the trigger on the hunter’s gun as the pair scuffled after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle. This happened in Belarus, where hunters apparently don’t know you’re supposed to shoot the animal and not have the animal shoot you. The report said the hunter had approached the fox after wounding it from a distance. The animal fiercely resisted when the hunter came close and in the struggle the fox accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw. The hunter went to the hospital to tend to the leg wound, and the fox presumably trotted off licking its wounds. Field and Stream

Surfer in South Africa killed by shark
Zama Ndamase, 16, was surfing with his brother and other members of the Border Surfriders Association when he was attacked by a shark at Second Beach, Port St. John, South Africa. “According to reports, Zama managed to catch a wave after being bitten and attempted to reach the shore,” a spokesman said in a statement, according to the South African Daily News “Tragically, he bled to death in the water before he could be reached by the lifeguards and rescue craft.” Underwater Times

NASA photo
Astronaut injured in bike accident
NASA astronaut Tim Kopra was injured in a bicycling accident. While his undisclosed injuries are not life-threatening, they could impact his duties for shuttle Discovery’s STS-133 mission, according to NASA. If professional athletes sign contracts preventing them from partaking in activities that could cause injuries, shouldn’t astronauts? Discovery

Owl knocks man off snowmobile
A 35-year-old man riding a snowmobile in Minnesota ran into a 1.6-pound barred owl and the owl won, knocking the man off his snowmobile and sending him to the hospital. According to the Rochester Post-Bulletin, the man suffered two shiners, a cracked nose and a little whiplash. No word how the owl fared. OutdoorPressman

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
See what WikiLeaks will soon release about a fishing president
Oddest help wanted ad ever!
Fishing from a Cliff: Did he have enough line to reach the water?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fishing Presidents: Harry S. Truman

Third in a series of Fishing Presidents. Today, Harry S. Truman.

Surprisingly, WikiLeaks has not yet released classified documents showing that President Harry S. Truman partook of offshore gambling while on vacation in Key West, Fla., in November 1946.

That's right, President Truman gambled, and there was cheating involved.

Photo courtesy of the Truman Library
Today, in an Internet exclusive, we will reveal the facts behind this never-before-told story about when President Truman was on vacation and gambled on the outcome of a fishing trip. The classified documents* of the president's vacation were compiled by Chief Yeoman Charles J. Langello, U.S.N.

As the story goes, two groups of dignitaries boarded separate fishing boats. As Clark Clifford, the president's special council, was boarding the Sandy and the president and his entourage were boarding the Dolphin, Clifford offered a wager for the biggest fish and biggest catch. President Truman accepted the bet.

They then proceeded to an area four miles off the island of Dry Tortugas and began fishing.

From Langello's report:
 It can be revealed here that preceding the President’s fishing try on this trip, some members of the DOLPHIN’S crew had already caught some fish, and it was planned to weigh these fish in with the competing catch.
Notwithstanding this collusion, however, the President made the first catch, a large grouper, weighing about six pounds. The President also made the second catch, a three-pound yellow tail. Thereafter he caught two more yellowtails for a total weight of about fifteen pounds of fish. Admiral Styer caught a grunt fish; General Graham a two-pound yellow tail; Captain Foskett a grouper and two yellow tails; Admiral Leahy could only confess he was a bad fisherman on this trip.
While the President and his group were fishing, an occasional cheer went up from the SANDY, about 200 yards off our starboard beam, every time one of Mr. Clifford’s group caught a fish. It appeared that they were having better luck, though we in the DOLPHIN were hoping that the cheers were only sounded to impress us – and rightfully so, because they were having better luck – as we ruefully found out later.
As the two groups headed back to Key West on another boat, President Truman made it known that he and his team had lost the bet. The log continued:
One of the fish Truman caught that day in 1946.
When it was learned that Mr. Clifford's group caught the larger weight of fish, the President confessed to Mr. Clifford that even weighing in the fish already on board the DOLPHIN when he started fishing, his group had failed to beat Mr. Clifford's group. Had it not, however, the President jokingly remarked he might not have confessed the perfidy [that is, the act of deliberate betrayal].
The bet was $5 for the biggest fish, $15 for the biggest catch. That would amount to about $55 and $165 in today's dollars.

Some 64 years later, we remain unsure about whether President Truman ever paid off the wager. We're expecting WikiLeaks to release that information soon.

*OK, maybe it wasn't "classified" in a top-secret way -- it was from the logs filed at the Truman Library --  but this is believed to be the first published account of Truman's Gambling-gate on the Internet.

Next week: Dwight D. Eisenhower
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Frog hitches a ride on a snake in Australian floods
Fishing from a Cliff: Did he have enough line to reach the water?
Skateboarding in South Africa

Friday, January 14, 2011

Help wanted! Chief Shark Officer for Discovery Channel

As help wanted ads go, this one may be as specialized as they come: Chief Shark Officer.

Seriously, this comes from the Discovery Channel and appears to be legit. If you enjoy swimming with sharks and talking about sharks, and possess a TV-host personality and sense of humor, you might want to apply ASAP. 

Check it out:

Job Requirements: Must enjoy exotic, waterfront locations, buff bodies in bathing suits and having the bejesus scared out of you. Looking delicious in a wet suit is a plus. Sense of humor required.

Salary: Chump Change (we spent an hour coming up with that!).

Benefits: Lots and lots of insurance and some great dentistry, naturally.

Job Description: Discovery Channel is looking for a fun-loving, fast-swimming personality to be the first ever Chief Shark Officer for this year's Shark Week. As we circle in on our 24th year, Shark Week has captured the zeitgeist that began with Jaws and is synonymous with summer. As the CSO, you will be required to swim with sharks (accompanied by professionals, of course), attend Shark premiere parties in NY, LA and Miami (accompanied by celebrities, of course) and help spread the word about the world's most misunderstood predator.

Please forward resumes, audition tapes and blood type to Discovery Channel c/o Elizabeth Hillman.
Two things pop out right away: One, "lots and lots of insurance and some great dentistry"! No mention of a 401K, but, nonetheless, how awesome is that? Two, send your "blood type" with resume and audition tapes. Hmmm.

Do you get the idea that this might end up being a temp job?

Thanks to GrindTV Outdoor for the tip.

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Shark Attacks 2010: Latest Maui attack part of record
Fishing from a Cliff: Did he have enough line to reach the water?
A Great White Shark you definitely don't want to encounter

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Surfing legend Ken Bradshaw wipes out on North Shore

With big-wave surfing comes big-time wipeouts, and one of them was captured dramatically by the BBC, which posted footage of the whitewater crash last Thursday on YouTube.

On the board is legendary big-wave surfer Ken Bradshaw, who gets swallowed by a huge wave at Himalayas on Hawaii's famed North Shore.

The video is from the BBC show "Human Planet," whose commentator offers this description:

"Trapped in a rolling mountain of whitewater, Ken is tossed around like a rag doll in a washing machine. Just as he surfaces, another giant breaker comes crashing in."
Take a look at the wipeout:

According to (whom we thank for the tip), Bradshaw is known for riding the biggest wave ever ridden on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, at an outer reef known as Outside Log Cabins. The wave was estimated to be more than 85-feet tall.

We don't know the height of the wave in this video, nor do we know when it occurred. We do know he survived the incredibly wicked six-wave set that pounded him after the wipeout.

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Surfer broke erroneous Guinness surfing record, or did he?
Surfing legend Kelly Slater gets a bronze statue
Fishing from a Cliff: Did he have enough line to reach the water?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wildlife: Frog hitches ride on a snake in Australian floods

Wildlife photo from ninemsn

In the animal kingdom, this isn't something you see every day: A green frog hitching a ride atop a brown snake.

The freak of nature occurred while the creatures were attempting to escape the devastating floods in Queensland, Australia. From
Computer technician Armin Gerlach was visiting friends in the flood-hit town of Dalby, located in the state's south-east, last week when he spotted the unlikely pair.

"I felt amazement, I just couldn’t believe it," Mr Gerlach told ninemsn.

Mr Gelach [who took the above photo] said a friend who had been affected by many floods told him animals often helped each other out during disasters.
Of course, we don't know the rest of the story. Was the snake really helping the frog? Or was it merely taking carryout for when it found safety? Unfortunately, we'll never know.

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Fishing from a Cliff: Did he have enough line to reach the water?
President catches fish without a hook
But officer, I really did see an orange alligator

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fishing from a cliff: From the Best of the Web File

It wasn't just posted on the Internet, but who cares? Today, we delve into the Best of the Web File, Fishing Division:

Someone once tried fishing off the back of a cruise ship, or so the story goes. It was never confirmed, though if it did actually happen, you'd probably put it into the "extreme fishing" category. Or, perhaps, the "extremely stupid" category.

This video from a couple years ago would no doubt belong to the latter. Ah, but this silly gentleman fishing off a cliff in Dalian, China, entertains us. Check him out:

Look close and you might actually see a fish at the end of his line (unless that's seaweed or his bait).

So, what do you think? Was he serious or just pulling one over on the tourists? Before you judge, however, take a look at this and then decide.

Thanks to for the tip.

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
But officer, I really did see an orange alligator
A weird state law: You can’t fish with your what?
Wildlife rescue: Saving deer cost pair $90 apiece

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fishing Presidents: Franklin D. Roosevelt

A very pleased Franklin Roosevelt puffing a cigarette
as his companion tries to figure out how the reel works.
They are fishing for tarpon in the Gulf of Mexico in 1937.
Photo courtesy of Bettmann/Corbis via the 

Second in a series of Fishing Presidents. Today, Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt was busy pulling the U.S. out of a depression, leading the country during World War II, creating Social Security and getting elected for three terms as president, among other things. But one day during his presidency, he shoved aside the problems of the world for something of utmost importance, and he shared it during a press conference:
Roosevelt seated by another man (take our
word, it's him) as his sailfish is hoisted up.
He caught the fish during a trip to the
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

The story of how he caught a sailfish without hooking it.

On August 27, 1938, the fishing president addressed the media about a fishing trip to Cocos Island where he landed a 100-pound sailfish -- yes, without a hook.

"We were out fishing, trolling for sailfish," he recalled. "One of them took my line, which was out about 200 feet beyond the boat with a hook and feather on the end.

"He jumped in the air and, apparently, while he was on the end, another sailfish came along and got his beak all snarled up in the line. The fish that got caught on the hook got away, but the fish that got caught on his nose was hauled in."

FDR told the press that there were 11 witnesses on the boat and someone with "a moving picture camera," plus two other still cameramen.

A moving picture camera. Don't you just love it? Wonder if the fishing president would have used Twitter to tell the world of his accomplishment had he done it today. 

Next week: Harry S. Truman.
Herbert Hoover

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Actor Michael Keaton goes overboard while fishing
WikiLeaks: 'Whale Wars' and Sea Shepherd face new battle
Maui shark-attack rescue caught on video

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Orange alligator discovered in Florida neighborhood

Sylvia Mythen of Venice, Fla., couldn’t believe her eyes. As double takes go, this one was a doozy.

"When I was coming back from work this morning I passed by, and I thought I saw what I thought I saw, but I had to back up and come and look again." Sylvia Mythen says she barely believed her eyes. "It was indeed an orange alligator." [...]

A biologist told Mythen that the orange gator is extremely rare. So rare in fact that he's never even seen one.

Gary Morse from Florida Fish and Wildlife says, "The official opinion from our alligator experts is that this is alligator is not naturally orange. We believe it's orange from paint, stain, iron oxide or some other element in the environment that has left a coating on the animal, making it appear orange."
We’ll vote for the anomaly. It’s just an orange alligator. Accept it.

Thanks to for the tip.

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
A weird state law: You can’t fish with your what?
Sea shepherd delights at what WikiLeaks uncovered
Maui shark-attack rescue caught on video

Friday, January 7, 2011

Skateboarding in South Africa: Maloofs are making it happen

Skateboarding in South Africa is brought to you
by the Maloof Skateboarding Global Initiative.

Skateboarding in Afghanistan might sound odd. Yet today, skateboarding is flourishing in that war-torn country, giving children there new life in a place called Skateistan, featured here not long ago. 

Now comes a similar story from South Africa called "Skateboarding for Hope."

The Maloof Skateboarding Global Initiative in December kicked off a 10-month tour and outreach program across the Provinces of South Africa, which will culminate in the first Maloof Money Cup World Skateboarding Championships in Kimberley, South Africa, Sept. 20-Oct. 2, 2011.

First, the World Cup. Next, the Maloof Money Cup. South Africa couldn't be happier.

"The skatepark and vert ramp the Maloofs are building for this contest and donating to our community is a significant contribution that will encourage the development of our youth, by providing them with a healthy, affordable recreational activity," H. Hazel Jenkins, premier of the Northern Cape Province in South Africa, said in a released statement. 

"Having a world-class street course and vert ramp in Kimberley will also put South Africa on the map as a premier destination for skateboarders from around the world."

That's exactly what the Maloofs had in mind. Well, the first part, anyway, about encouraging the youth.

If the Maloof name rings a bell, it should. It is the same Maloof family that owns the Sacramento Kings.

But while the NBA Kings might be wallowing in last place, the Kings of Skateboarding are winning big time in the hearts of kids in South Africa. 

The December kickoff was to include visits to 17 Northern Cape towns over a two-week period, with pro demos, and skateboarding clinics and contests. Leg 2 of the tour will continue in February, beginning in Cape Town. Throughout the tour, underpriviledged youths will receive free shoes and skateboards.

From Maloof Skateboarding: "The goal is to provide a positive activity in which kids and youth can participate, keeping them off the streets, away from crime and inspiring a new generation of skateboarders, all while giving back to each community it touches."

No doubt, the Maloofs are making a difference. Today, South Africa. Tomorrow, the world. At least that's the goal. Joe Maloof has said they could "realistically have three to four contests outside the U.S. in 2012." How cool would that be?

In a post at ESPN Action Sports, Maloof talked about the impact of skateboarding in South Africa:
"We're already starting to make a difference in South Africa with our clinics and gear donations, but also on a personal level with the youth there.

"There's this great kid -- a 6-year-old boy -- he's amazing on a skateboard. All of the people in his village have started calling him "Maloof." He's been homeless and we're making sure we take care of him, making sure he gets an education and we're supporting his skateboarding so he has opportunities in life that he wouldn't otherwise have."
In 2010, the Maloof Money Cup presented by Vans held events in Orange County, Calif., and Queens, New York, where a world-class skatepark was built and donated to the community. It'll be interesting to see how far the skateboarding Maloofs go with this.

Skateboarding and the Maloofs? Go figure.

For more details, visit Maloof Skateboarding.

Thanks for ESPN Action Sports for the tip!

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

A 58-year-old woman is swimming from Mexico to Hawaii, and other Call of the Wild headlines

A 58-year-old woman is swimming from Mexico to Hawaii
Not all at once, however. Endurance athlete Jennifer Figge, 58, of Aspen, Colo., set off on Dec. 30 on a 3,000-mile swim that she figures to do in chunks, not continously. How many of those miles she will actually swim is anybody's guess, however. In 2009, she was criticized after it was erroneously reported that she swam the entire 2,500 miles across the Atlantic. Instead, she was in the water for 12 hours at a time, covering 25 miles in 20-foot waves during the day and resting at night, according to The Outside Blog. Still, that's pretty good, isn't it? For a Fifty-something-year-old? She is updating her progress at via SAT phone. The Outside Blog

When is taking shots on a golf course not OK?
When it's not with a golf club but rather with a shotgun. Such was the case of the deer hunter/golf-course maintenance worker in Michigan. The Associated Press reported that the Department of Natural Resources says a maintenance worker confessed that he was shooting deer at a golf course while sitting in a cart. Another boo-boo? The hunter admitted he shot the deer before running into town to get a hunting license. The DNR did not offer him a mulligan. The Republic

Deaf divers can communicate just fine underwater
By Googling the words "deaf" and "sailing," Wendy Dannels discovered Worldwide Dive and Sail, a company that has been organizing multi-day diving trips for the deaf since 2004. What a refreshing read called Deaf Divers Sign in the Soundless Depths, published recently in the New York Times. New York Times

Mammoth Mountain finished December with record snow
The popular ski resort in the Eastern Sierra of California enjoyed a boom in ski conditions in December with a resort-record (at least dating back to 1969) 209 inches or nearly 17 1/2 feet! The resort Tweeted on Monday Dec. 20:  "Wondering what 10-15 ft of snow since Friday looks like? Check out the gallery from today" It received up to 15 feet in four days! Mammoth Mountain

Sailing competitor collides with whale in round-the-world yacht race
Yachtsman Christophe Bullens was competing in the Velux 5 Oceans race, a round-the-world race in which not much went right for him, including crashing into a whale. "It was like a car crash," he said. He withdrew leaving only four competitors. The whole story can be found here: The Globe and Mail

Man attempts climbing Mount McKinley solo in January
ShiloTV reports that Lonnie Dupre of Minnesota is attempting to become the first person to complete a solo climb of Alaska's Mount Denali (aka McKinley) in the month of January, when conditions are the worst, with winds hitting over 100 mph. Of nine previous expeditions, only 16 people have made it to the top. ShiloTV

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Shark swims long distance, skydiving naked and other Call of the Wild headlines
Sea shepherd delights at what WikiLeaks uncovered
A weird state law: You can’t fish with your what?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Actor Michael Keaton goes fishing and takes a dip

Why actor Michael Keaton ends up in the water hugging an 80-pound tarpon near the boat, we can only guess.

Might it be a re-creation of the "American Sportsman" episode from the 1970s, the one in which Terry Bradshaw loses his fishing rod to a tarpon and dives in after it?

Curt Gowdy, the legendary host and sports broadcaster, said of that episode, which is shown in the IGFA Hall of Fame in Florida, "It's the only time I ever saw a fish catch a man."

Actually, it appears that Michael Keaton jumped into the water to get a photo taken with his catch for the cameras of the Outdoor Channel before it was released.

See if you agree. Check out the trailer for the new show on the Outdoor Channel called "Buccaneers and Bones," presented in partnership with the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust. The fishing show features a collection of celebrity anglers and is hosted by Tom Brokaw, who we believe is an accomplished fly-fisherman. Take a look:

Yes, Michael Keaton is the guest angler who battles -- excitedly, it appears -- with an 80-pound tarpon and presumably jumps into the water to get a close-up photo with the fish. "Buccaneers and Bones" debuted last week but the episode with Keaton fishing and taking a dip will air Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

A description of this episode called Grey Ghosts (via the Outdoor Channel):
The team of anglers cast into the flats off the coast of Belize in pursuit of bonefish. Tom Brokaw and Bill Klyn casts from a boat, McGuane and Yvon Chouninard try their luck wading, and Michael Keaton and Lori-Ann Murphy use both methods.
01-07 at 6:00AM
01-07 at 7:00PM
01-08 at 1:00AM
01-08 at 2:00PM
01-09 at 8:30AM
We're assuming those are ET but check local listings. And be on the lookout for future episodes of "Buccaneers and Bones," which Outdoor Channel says will set out to "explore the the wonders of bone fishing through the eyes of [an] all-star cast who have each devoted a significant part of their lives to conservation causes."
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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
A weird state law: You can’t fish with your what?
The Great White Shark you definitely don't want to encounter
How to solve crime: A past president has the answer

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sea Shepherd delights at what WikiLeaks uncovered

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson
It was a victory, not to mention proof that what it is doing is working.

That was pretty much the reaction of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society when WikiLeaks revealed on Monday secret documents showing that Japan was pressuring the U.S. government to take action against the anti-whaling group by revoking its tax-exempt status.

Here's how the Sea Shepherd, home of Animal Planet's popular reality-TV show "Whale Wars," put it on its website:

Wikileaks Reveals Sea Shepherd is a Serious Concern
to Japan’s Illegal Whaling Operations

Wikileaks has revealed that the Japanese government views Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as a very serious threat to their illegal whaling activities. In a classified U.S. Department of State document released by Wikileaks to the El Pais newspaper in Spain, the Japanese Deputy General Director for the Japanese Fisheries Agency Mr. Yamashita, pointed out that “the harassment of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had kept the Japanese whaling fleet from reaching its quotas these last few years.”

There it is! For all the critics who have been saying the anti-whaling campaigns have not been effective, Sea Shepherd holds the same position as the Japanese Fisheries Agency that the campaigns have been very effective, so effective in fact that Sea Shepherd has been discussed in high-level talks by Japanese government representatives with the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 
Go to the Sea Shepherd website for founder Paul Watson's comments. It's enlightening, if a bit long.
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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
How to solve crime: A past president has the answer
Whale Wars: Godzilla joins fight against Japanese whalers
Shark Attacks 2010: Latest Maui attack part of record

Monday, January 3, 2011

WikiLeaks: 'Whale Wars' and Sea Shepherd face new battle

Sea Shepherd on the attack from a Zodiak in a previous
season. Photos from
If you love whales or you're a conservationist or animal rights activist, you might not like what WikiLeaks just made public, exposing confidential talks between the U.S. and Japanese governments over "Whale Wars."

U.S. diplomatic cables from November 2009 reveal that the Japanese government was (and presumably still is) pressuring the U.S. to weaken the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's efforts to harass the Japanese whaling fleet in exchange for a reduced whale quota.

The U.S. would weaken Sea Shepherd by revoking its tax-exempt status, and a cable reveals that the U.S. government told Japan that it believes it can succeed in doing so.

Yahoo!-associated GrindTV Outdoor was among the first media outlets to report the release of these details by WikiLeaks. GrindTV attempted to confirm with NOAA the validity of the documents and whether the U.S. is still considering taking action against Sea Shepherd, but a spokesman said the agency "does not comment on materials, including classified documents, which may have been leaked."

From a confidential cable labeled  09TOKYO2588 by WikiLeaks and made public Monday (though it's dated Jan. 1):  
Regarding the SSCS [Sea Shepherd], she [Monica Medina, the U.S. representative to the International Whaling Commission] said she believes the USG can demonstrate the group does not deserve tax exempt status based on their aggressive and harmful actions.
A Japanese whaling boat
In an earlier confidential cable labeled 09TOKYO2529, also released by WikiLeaks on Monday, Japan let the U.S. know that dealing with Sea Shepherd needs to be a priority in order for the IWC negotiations for whale-quota reductions to move forward:
[Shuji] Yamada [Japan's Vice-Minister for International Affairs] inquired about an investigation into the tax status of the U.S.-based NGO Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and repeated Japan's request for the U.S. to take action against the organization, which he said created a very dangerous situation on the seas. The DCM [an embassy diplomat] replied that the U.S. places the highest priority on the safety of vessels and human life at sea, and added that if any violations of U.S. law are discovered, we will take appropriate enforcement action. [Fisheries Agency Counselor Joji] Morishita went on to say it would be easier for Japan to make progress in the IWC negotiations if the U.S. were to take action against the Sea Shepherd.
The founder of Sea Shepherd is Paul Watson, whose efforts to prevent the whaling fleet from killing whales spurred the popular reality-TV series called "Whale Wars," which airs on Animal Planet. Watson seemed to shrug off the WikiLeaks report.

From the Associated Press: 
Paul Watson and his crew

Paul Watson [...] said Japan has previously pressured foreign governments to take action against the group, such as revoking the registration of its ships. He said the organization had last been audited about two years ago, which is before the exchanges detailed in the cables.

"We have had our tax status since 1981, and we have done nothing different since then to cause the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to change that," he told The Associated Press by telephone from his ship.
Watson and his anti-whaling fleet are currently in the Southern Ocean trying to do everything they can to prevent the Japanese whaling fleet from killing whales under the guise of research. Sea Shepherd added a new boat called Godzilla to the fleet this season. Read more about that here.

The Sea Shepherd fleet interrupts hunts by tossing stink bombs onto the Japanese vessels and positioning boats between the whalers and the whales. The intense confrontations make for interesting TV, but more importantly, it helps save hundreds of minke whales from getting harpooned.

The fourth season of "Whale Wars" will begin airing in June. This season's motto: Operation No Compromise.

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
A weird state law: You can’t fish with your what?
Whale Wars: Godzilla joins fight against Japanese whalers
Congress bans shark finning

Fishing with your mouth is illegal in Pennsylvania

So maybe it is possible to catch
fish in one's mouth!
If you’re going to go fishing in the state of Pennsylvania, you’d better use a fishing rod. Or at least avoid using your mouth, lest you be cited by the game warden.

That’s right, if you catch a fish with your mouth you will be subjected to a $100 fine for “illegal mouth-fishing.”

We’re not kidding!

As we embark on a new year and many states enact new state laws, we take a look at some weird state laws that have been on the books for years and are, to say the least, absurd. on Friday wrote about a recent Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article which focused on the topic, particularly the law in Pennsylvania that is in need of some major tweaking.

It prohibits using your mouth, hands or dynamite to catch fish. Hands? OK, we get that. Mouth? Uh, what we're they thinking? Dynamite? What, you don’t think people would actually use dynamite for fishing? Then check this out.

Emil Svetahor, a law enforcement supervisor who has worked for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for nearly 30 years, told the Tribune-Review that he has yet to nab anybody for fishing with their mouth.

We know bears have the ability to catch fish in their mouth, but people? Seriously (the above photo notwithstanding)? That is why it's a weird law and in need of disappearing.

According to the story, however, repealing outdated state laws -- many dating to the 1700s -- can be tedious, time-consuming and costly, so they are best left alone.

Oh well, at least the weird laws give plenty of material for guys like Jeff Koon and Andy Powell of They even wrote a book on the topic: “You May Not Tie an Alligator to a Fire Hydrant: 101 Real Dumb Laws.” 

From, other weird laws that people in the great outdoors ought to be aware of, lest they be cited:

  • In Alaska, it is considered an offense to feed alcoholic beverages to a moose.
  • In Arizona, it’s illegal to hunt for camels.
  • In Florida, it’s illegal to skateboard without a license.
  • In Hawaii, all residents may be fined as a result of not owning a boat.
  • In Boise, Idaho, you may not fish on a camel’s back.
  • In Illinois, it is forbidden to fish while sitting on a giraffe’s neck. (At right, a zebra shows the illegal technique.) 
  • In Kansas, no one may catch fish with his bare hands. (OK, not so outdated.)
  • In Ocean City, N.Y., eating while swimming in the ocean is prohibited.
  • In South Carolina, it’s illegal to fish with a yo-yo. (Yeah, good luck figuring that one out.)

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Maui shark-attack rescue caught on video
A Great White Shark you wouldn't want to encounter
Angler catches world-record yellowfin tuna
Fishing Presidents: Herbert Hoover

Fishing Presidents: Herbert Hoover

The Declaration of Independence tells us that “all men were created equal.” President Herbert Hoover, perhaps our country’s most dedicated fisherman, once said “All men are equal before fish."

What does it all mean? It means that U.S. presidents are like you and me when they are fishing. Just average Joe and Josephine with a fishing rod in their hands.

The only difference? You’re not going to be honored by Outdoors 720 on Mondays leading up to Presidents Day 2011, like a few past presidents. First off, Herbert Hoover:

 Herbert Hoover fly-fishing at Brown's Camp, Calif., in August 1928.
Photo courtesy of the Hoover Library.
Herbert Hoover was a dedicated fisherman, no doubt. He even wrote a book about fishing: "Fishing for Fun -- And to Wash Your Soul." He wasn't the first fishing president nor the last, but he probably produced more fishing sayings than any other president.

Such as:

“Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.”

“Next to prayer, fishing is the most personal relationship of man.”

“Fishing is the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air. It brings meekness and inspiration, reduces our egoism, soothes our troubles and shames our wickedness. It is discipline in the equality of men -- for all men are equal before fish.”

“Lots of people committed crimes during the year who would not have done so if they had been fishing. The increase of crime is among those deprived of the regenerations that impregnate the mind and character of the fisherman.”

“There are only two occasions when Americans respect privacy, especially in Presidents. Those are prayer and fishing.”

So, yes, Hoover took his fishing seriously. And did you catch his solution for crime? Put a fishing rod in the hands of a criminal and today’s society would be so much better off.

Touche, Herbert.

Next week: President Franklin D. Roosevelt

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