The Fish Story

Converting Salmon Into Nuclear Warheads; Famed Words Nikita Never Uttered

By JAY MANN | Oct 25, 2017

SAY WHAT?!: Here’s a fish processing story that not only stinks, politically speaking, but could reek of radioactive fallout.

Say what!?

Salmon filets being voraciously consumed around the world are quite possibly funding the war effort by North Korea’s “Little Whack-Job Rocket Man” (per The Donald), fulfilling his craving to be rocket-ready to obliterate American cities, most notably Los Angeles (per “The Little Whack-Job Rocket Man”).

An AP investigative report recently exposed a supersized Chinese salmon processing plant staffed with North Korean workers. Those fish cleaners were all hand-picked by none other than insane supreme N.K. leader Kim Jong-un. As the chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, he can order about workers as he sees fit. Nary a “Hell no, we won’t go!”

AP reporters assert that these Korean drudges net only a small fraction of their salaries. Most of the money, as much as 70 percent, is siphoned off by North Korean government, i.e. Un.

Now to the scary- as-s*** part. Those reporters assert that the skimmed salmon-cleaning wages are quickly allocated to North Korea’s now-notorious nuclear weapons program. It’s a case of fish guts for fission.

With the “salmon bomb” connection made, could it be we Americans are unknowingly eating our way into the Un-man’s death-defying world of atomic Russian roulette? That possibility got me so disturbed, I phoned some contacts in D.C.

Talking to a gal with ties to Capitol Hill, I was assured that it’s not us – as in a U.S. us – eating our way toward Armageddon. However, the rest of the salmon-consuming world may be inadvertently dining with disaster, greasing the Pyongyang war machine.

I was also advised that America has militantly banned all trade with North Korea … especially the salmon trade!

OK, so maybe I kinda added that “especially the salmon trade.” However, folks in D.C. knew exactly of what I was speaking, processed fish-wise.

Upon some prodding, my D.C. contacts admitted our nation is keeping a fish eagle eye on all Chinese seafood products. Should something smell, even ever so slightly, of North Korea, it gets a slow boat back to China. Imagine that smell upon arrival.

I was also duly warned, “It’s not always easy tracking everything arriving here, considering the amount of trade we do with China.” Really? You mean there are some Chinese products in our stores?

Ugly irony: Much of our world-leading salmon harvest is sent all the way to China for processing. What a migration.

Aftermath: The same day I researched North Korea’s salmon strategy, I went out and bought some warhead-free salmon. I patriotically spent a pretty premium for whole salmon, labeled “Wild caught in the USA” – strains of Springsteen music wafted through my mind. I saluted the guy who wrapped the fish. He just kinda stared at me.

MANN OVERBOARD: While nervously looking into salmon being processed by North Koreans in China, I surfed over to YouTube. As if watching a nuclear train wreck, I couldn’t turn away from videos showing Crazy North Korean Dude promising to reduce L.A. to glowing cinders.

Beneath one video, I noticed a comment by a Jenifer Stardust. She declared that America has never before been threatened in such a brazen manner.

Au contraire, mon Stardust. Nary a boomer out there can forget the time Soviet Union’s head honcho, Nikita Khrushchev, allegedly declared, “We will bury you!” – or words not to that effect. I’ll explain that italicized word.

In the ’60s, Nikita’s alleged “We will bury you!” wordage lit up the Cold War like an aurora nuclearus. Such brazen fighting words hardened us kids into nationalistic rocks. What’s more, those funereal words turned an already deeply instilled distrust of the USSR into stone-cold loathing. In fact, many a boomer still hears the echo of those fighting words, even though Nikita is long gone and trade-partner Russia is now far more inclined to bury the hatchet than bury us.

All that recalled, I’m historically obligated to offer a long-in-coming follow-up to those famed Nikita words – a follow-up that leaves egg on the face of back-then D.C., while thoroughly downgrading the significance of Khrushchev’s seeming death threat.

In well-documented retrospect, the exact words Khrushchev used – with a slight smirk, it must be importantly added – were “My vas pokhoronim.” Precisely translated, those words mean, at worst, “we will outlast you.”

But that literal translation isn’t even remotely what Nikita snickeringly meant. Instead, he was uncreatively using a highly common, worldwide expression, adjusted for loads of languages, including English. We know it as “It’s your funeral” – often spoken in a smirkish-at-worst way, sometimes jokingly.

Of course, such a snarky and downright common “It’s your funeral” comment by a detested Soviet head honcho had next to no propaganda value in Cold War terms. Enter the creatively licensed translative powers within, most likely, the CIA or the Pentagon. In an intentional Americanized misinterpretation of “My vas pokhoronim,” the world heard the shocking “We will bury you!”

If ever there was a primordial “WTF!?” moment, it was had by Nikita himself, after hearing what he had supposedly said. “Ya skazal chto?” (I said that?), per Nikita.

However, after careful Kremlin consideration, those never-said words worked quite well in a war-of-words counterpunch context. The Soviets let it ride – sniggering.

Naturally, as children fueled by candy-coated American propaganda, we bought into the whole bury-you thing – lock, stock and M-16 barrel. The first hints of “USA! USA! USA!” rang out.

Full speed ahead to now-a-times – keeping in mind you can fool all the kids some of the time, and some of the kids all of the time … etc.

I have little doubt that “Little Whack-Job Rocket Man” is shooting off crazed rhetoric faster than he’s shooting missiles over the Sea of Japan. Still, I knowingly offer significant waggle room when hearing D.C.’s translations of his words. Just sayin’.

(OK, so the above is way away from fishing, but, to paraphrase the “Garden Party” words of the late, great Ricky Nelson, “If fishing were all I write, I’d rather drive a truck” … which doesn’t sound all that bad. “Breaker, Breaker. This is Mulletman. I’m doin’ double-nickles, seeing smokies at every overpass. Come on back, Bandit.” Damn, I miss CB days.)

FAST TIMES AT ALBIE HIGH: It has become an exceptional fall for catching false albacore, aka albies – the most common of tunas. I recently saw a near-in boat working them, only 150 yards from the beach, where the albies were attacking rainfish.

In N.J. waters, these speed demons can sometimes cruise real close in, every so often within surfcasting range. But, short of chasing baitballs onto sandbars, they’re seldom an onshore gamefish. From boats, they’re easily had.

To get at them, I hear of some boat folks chumming them into plugging range. Bunker and, especially, spearing work when getting a slick going.

More commonly, captains chase after highly here-and-gone birdplay flare-ups, emblematic of rapid-fire albie attacks. The chase method is hampered by fuel expenditure and the vaporous nature of an albie baitball bite. Talk about a GOA (gone on arrival) species.

Hereabouts, trolling often aligns best with every-which-away albie travels. When on the troll for albies, anything with “feathers” seems the way to go. Once the fish are found, the likes of crippled herring and, most heralded, Deadly Dicks are proven albie-nailing artificials.  Metals and spoons are preferred by some. Truth be told, there are just about as many suggested albie-getters as there are albie-chasing captains.

A superb article in Saltwater Sportsman ( titled “Fishing for Jersey’s Speed Demons,” by Nick Honachefsky, suggests “Lures: 1/4- to 1-ounce red-and-white or chartreuse-and-white bucktails, 1- to 3-ounce Deadly Dicks, Sting-O jigs, A17 Ava jigs, trolled feathers and small squids, No. 0 or No. 1 Clark spoons.”

ALBIE BETTER … SOMEDAY: I’ll ungrudgingly retell the tale of the time I adapted a somewhat whippy, 9-foot surf rod to perform country-mile casting for albies. I equipped the rod with a “plugging” 4500SS Penn spinning reel – a reel not suited for such duty. But, for me, it is always about experimentation – and trying to survive same.

Readying for a suborbital launch, I tied on (if I recall right) a 2-ounce Hopkins.

Urging me on were visual albie targets. Surfcasters had been seeing them for days, as the tiny tuna jumped high out of the glassy a.m. water. I also heard tell of a couple albies being caught from shore, on bait. Never confirmed.

My very first cast went out so far, I could barely see its splashdown. Barely into whipping the Hopkins back in at top speed, I frickin’ hooked up! I was thoroughly shocked. Let’s just say success is not particularly amenable to most of my jury-rigged experimentations.

No sooner was the fish on than things went south – or, more accurately, dead east. What must have been a 6-poundish albie instantly hauled its scaly butt straight out to sea. And when a hooked albie hauls ass, the line automatically follows. Not a good thing in my instance.

It was during the blistering initial seaward run by the infuriated fish that I just happened to notice how my mega-cast had already nearly emptied my reel of its roughly 150 yards of line. Hmmm. “I must make note of that.”

What little line was left evaporated. It quickly came down to the flimsy knot tying the line to the reel. Fat chance that tie-on could hold a pissed-off, full-speed-ahead tuna. Nice knowin’ ya, mono.

Always the environmentalist at heart, I was immediately mortified over allowing so much now-feral monofilament to flow seaward, as ghost line. I stood there in sheer eco-shock. Well over a football field’s length of line was now being freely dragged behind that fish.

Guilt-ridden, I nervously looked around to see if anyone had seen my environmental faux pas. Seeing I was unseen, I feigned nonchalance, jumped back into my truck and bolted off – not unlike the albie.

Out of ghostline repentance, I swore off any future long-casting for surfline albies – unless, just maybe, I could use a larger reel with over 250 yards of braided line and add on a special …

SPRAY BEACH RAPTOR SPECTACLE: Thanks to the many folks who sent me word – and photos galore – of the stunning adult bald eagle that has taken a sudden liking to the Comcast communication tower in Spray Beach.

The majestic bird’s mere perching presence up there exudes an air of instant ownership and control. Let’s see a turkey do that, Ben Franklin – who wanted the wild turkey to be the national bird. A turkey looking up toward the top of that antenna? “Oh, hell no.”

I got word Comcast is already working on a way to get a monthly “Perching” bill up to the eagle. For now, it’s just a gal yelling up, “Hey, do you want paper or electronic billing? … Yes, I’m talking to you, bird.”

Not only has this stately bird been using the upper reaches of the antenna to hawk all things south end, but Kenny G. saw the same eagle go alpha while foraging nearby. After a resident osprey had done all the wing-work to nab a large bunker in its talons, the eagle swooped. Before the local osprey could even let loose a “Look at the size of that sucker!” the bunker was in the eagle’s talons. To me, the scene had an oddly familiar ring of newbies arriving on LBI with a new-sheriff-in-town attitude.

I’ll be interested to see if this eagle-has-landed look becomes a long-term relationship twixt antenna and raptor. That’s highly unlikely, at least this time of year. What’s more, just wait until Comcast’s first-year “Perching” rate doubles after the introductory offer runs out. And should an arriving eagle pair assume the perch next spring, they’ll likely fall over after getting the first combined “Perching” and “Nesting” bill.

DREDGE UPDATE: Work has begun on cleaning up Double Creek. Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. is sucking sand over near Waretown.

No new word on Harvey Cedars, Surf City or Brant Beach replenishments.

For updates on local angling, the 2017 Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic and assorted nature matters, check out

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