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New Study Shows that Fish Seem Capable of Reasoning

Are fish capable of doing math? This wild study seems to indicate that they are!
For a study released to the public on April 1, this fish story seemed immediately suspicious. After all, it came from Europe where some still refer to the annual day of foolery as “April Fish Day” and a person who gets pranked as an “April Fish.” Yet, after careful examination (the full peer-reviewed study published in a legitimate science journal with multiple diagrams and 78 footnotes), we are prepared to share this with BaitCloud readers that the apparently outlandish claim, made by researchers at the University of Bonn on April Fools Day, seems to, in fact, be legitimate: Fish can be taught to do math.
Now, by “math,” of course, the scientists at the university were not referencing calculus. That may be their next experiment. They, instead, focused on basic arithmetical operations. Namely, addition and subtraction of the number 1, in a range up to 5. Cichlids, popular aquarium fish that come in a wide range of colors and shapes, and stingrays, from the Frankfurt Zoo, performed the math.
The test given to the fish was one already passed by bees. The scientists also knew from previous studies that their subjects could distinguish between quantities of 3 and 4 at a glance without having to count, much the way humans can. So, this experiment was designed to confirm whether they could actually calculate. 
To add and subtract, the fish were shown a set of geometric shapes of all blue or all yellow. They were tasked with adding one shape if the set was blue and removing one shape if the set was yellow. Zoologist Vera Schluessel of the University of Bonn, who led the research team, said on the university website, “So the animals had to recognize the number of objects depicted and at the same time infer the calculation rule from their color. They had to keep both in working memory when the original picture was exchanged for the two result pictures. And they had to decide on the correct result afterwards. Overall, it’s a feat that requires complex thinking skills.”
Over time, with food rewards, both the cichlids and the stingrays learned that blue meant increase one and yellow meant decrease one. By carefully controlling the variables—for example, using different shapes and different shape sizes and deliberately omitting some calculations—the team demonstrated that, in fact, the fish were learning the concepts behind the math and not merely memorizing rules. In the end, both types of fish passed the test.

"No brain, no gain. Stay in school."

-Dory, Finding Nemo

9 Tips for the Perfect Shore Lunch

How to take your camp-cooked fish feasts to the next level. Whether you are planning a week-long backcountry trip or a quick meal down at your favorite fishing hole, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your fish dinner, right on the bank.

1. KEEP YOUR FISH FRESH UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO COOK.

We kept our eating fish on a stringer, either rope-style or metal clip, in the water right until we were ready to skin them. Clear, cold waters kept them fresh and lively all day. If you are fishing in a warmer climate, make sure your fish can reach water a foot or two deep to stay cooler. Keep them in a shady spot whenever possible. Don't have access to cool water but do have a cooler full of ice? Gut your fish immediately and put them on ice to chill. 

2. PACK A CUTTING BOARD.

Fileting fish on a boat paddle or a flat rock is OK, but a cutting board makes the job way easier. Space tight? Try a thin plastic mat that can roll up. Or a folding board,

3. WATER AND FISH BREADING DON’T MIX.

Use a vacuum sealer to bag up one meal’s worth of your favorite fish breading. That cuts down on the packaging you have to carry in and out and assures that your breading will be dry when you are ready to use it. Side dishes like packaged rice or mashed potatoes get the same treatment so they won’t get wet in the event of a rainstorm or a canoe tipping.

4. SPLURGE FOR A NORMAL-SIZED SKILLET.

If you plan to cook for a crowd, a small backpacking skillet isn’t big enough to get the job done. Pack in a full-sized aluminum skillet. I like a non-stick version from a restaurant supply store for toughness and easy clean-up.

5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO COOK A FISH WHOLE.

Fillets are nice, but there's a lot of waste compared to cooking a whole fish. Cheeks (no lie, the cheek meat is the best part of a big fish), the throat saddle and the belly all make fine eats. Is the fish too big to fit in your skillet? Cut it in half or even into thirds. Score the meat over the thickest areas to allow the fish to cook faster and make eating easier.

6. PACKAGE YOUR OIL IN A METAL OR TOUGH PLASTIC BOTTLE WITH A SCREW-ON LID.

Plastic oil bottles from the store are easy to crush. And that’s a mess no one wants to clean up. Pour your needed oil into a drink bottle with a tight-fitting lid to keep it from getting smashed.

7. DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF TO FRIED FISH.

There's nothing wrong with fried fish. We ate it for several meals on our trip, but there are other ways to prepare fish that are just as good. Try blackening, and pack along your favorite flour or corn tortillas for fish tacos. The tortillas don’t take up much room in your pack and they won’t smash like a loaf of bread.

8. PACK ALONG SOME SQUEEZE BUTTER.

You will never find margarine in my refrigerator at home. Real butter tastes better, cooks better and is better for you. But a tub of squeeze margarine on a camping trip is admittedly handy. Squeeze a little on your fish to make your blackening seasoning hold tight and keep your fish from sticking to the skillet. Want grilled fish? Pack along some heavy-duty foil to lay on the grill, then add a bit of squeeze margarine to keep the fish from sticking. It comes in handy for side dishes like mashed potatoes, too. 

9. STOCKPILE PLENTY OF WOOD.

If you are cooking over an open fire, stock up on thumb to wrist-sized pieces of firewood before you start cooking. Small pieces like this make maintaining the proper frying temperature easier than using large chunks. Be careful while feeding the fire. Tall flames lapping up and over the side of your skillet will start a grease fire that means dinner will be late, at best, and lost to a forest fire on the bad end.

How do you know when your grease is hot enough? Add a small piece of fish while the oil heats. When it starts to pop and sizzle, you are ready to start cooking. If you have the space, you can always pack in a handful of popcorn. Drop a few kernels into the oil. When they pop, your oil is hot enough to fry.

If you start using these tips, be ready. Your fishing buddies might just make you full-time camp cook. Just make sure they do the dishes. And bring BaitCloud so there are plenty of fish to cook up!

 

Forecast for February

February is typically a very good month for trophy bass fishing on Lake Toho and many of the Orlando lakes. Cold fronts coming thru can keep the air temperatures much cooler, so of course dressing in layers is highly recommended for this time of year. A lot of our focus is on World Famous Lake Toho, as this body of water is probably your best option at catching that trophy bass.

Your options for catching bass out here are wide depending on the weather. If we get hit by a cold front, we will consider having a dozen or two of wild shiners on the boat to slow troll behind the boat while we work spawning areas with artificial lures.
Your options for lures will range from ten inch worms to creature baits like craws. Using a fish attractant like BaitCloud will also help stimulate the bite. Try using BaitCloud Fish Attractant formulated for Bass, scented with garlic and crayfish, the bass can't resist. 

We will target bass beds, but keep in mind that when a bass is caught from a bed we will take a picture and weight fast, and carefully release back into the water gently so we don’t harm her. Many times we have witnessed her go back to her bed, so if done properly she will not be stressed out and abort her eggs as many claim they do. We are also strictly catch and release with all bass, replicas of your catch are usually one dollar per inch more than a skin mount and will last forever.

Tight lines.

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