preying mantis

Steve, a preying mantis friend of mine, needed to get out of town. He hitched a ride with me as I headed out on a covert fishing adventure.

Howdy everyone! Can you believe summer is winding down? I'm having a difficult time with it because I could swear it just started. One of the telltale signs is that we have had some rain lately and I have seen a few folks out picking early season mushrooms.

Here's our latest fishing report in bullet form.

- When the ocean allows us to get out the tuna are still out there in good numbers, the last numbers we saw put them 20-25 out.

- As of Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, anglers may keep two Pacific halibut each day in the sport halibut fisheries in the Central Oregon Coast and Southern Oregon Subareas (subareas south of Cape Falcon to the OR/CA Border

- Crabbing remains "meh" locally, but we have seen an improvement lately.

- Outside Winchester Bay ocean crabbing is good.

- Rockfish remains good but ya can't keep cabezon. You also cannot keep China, Quillback, or copper rockfish unless you catch 'em from shore.

- Lingcod fishing remains slow overall.

- We are seeing some good salmon movement into our system, not a lot being caught though. Hopefully the recent rain will change that some.

- Coho salmon (hatchery or wild) may be retained in the ocean as part of the two salmon daily bag limit that began Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The fishery is open each Friday through Sunday through the end of September, or until the quota is met (whichever comes first). Only hatchery coho may be retained for anglers in the bay and rivers.

One day this past week I discovered a stow-away as I jumped into my truck to head out fishing for the evening. My new friend clung to my arm and gripped tight as he hung on for the ride.

At about four inches in length, and green in color, he doesn't look all that intimidating but if he wants he can pack a heck of a punch.

My new friend was a preying mantis and while we have tons of these amazing little critters back in Texas this was my first encounter with one in Oregon. I quickly made a live video post on Facebook to share this amazing and rare find. And just as quickly a bunch of followers, customers, and fans dashed my excitement and told me that its not really that big a deal because they're kind of everywhere in Oregon. Well then, fine, but I was still excited regardless.

Back in Texas I used to have several gardens in my back yard with tons of squash, beans, and peppers. For some reason my praying mantis families always seemed to prefer my pepper plants, particularly the cayenne and jalapeno pepper plants. I would come out daily to harvest and water my plants, my little green friends would come out from hiding to greet me and I still swear to this day that they recognized me. They have huge bug eyes on alien looking heads that articulate and swivel just like a humans head. As I would go about my business they would move their heads to track my movements. Sometimes I would stick out a finger and they would perch on it as we sat and talked or I drank coffee. It's OK, they didn't talk back or anything.

Now, I'm not a bug nerd or anything and typically I will step on, swat, or spray bugs if they are in my personal space but there is just something super special about these ones.

Praying manits, manti, mantis's, mantis'...hang on. Google says its “mantises” so that's what we will go with. Praying mantises will grow from about an inch to six inches in length on the freakishly large end but most of the ones I have encountered have been about the four inch size. Living only about a year or so mantises party hard to make up for their short time alive. Actually, they don't really party much and they are a really calm docile insect unless they are about to strike their prey. Strictly carnivorous the praying mantis will use its camouflage to ambush its prey or sometimes even stalk it, using almost imperceptible movements until it is in with striking range. Once dinner is in range the mantis will unfold its arms from its retracted praying position at lightning speed and use the spikes attached to them to hold and crush its victim. Usually starting at the victims head the mantis will consume its prey in a sick and frightening display of the worse table manners in the animal kingdom. Their usual food sources are things like flies, grasshoppers, crickets, aphids, or moths that I catch and put on a toothpick for them to grab and eat. This is probably why the ones in my yard liked me so much, it really had nothing to do with my personality.

Mantises will lay an egg case filled with hundreds of eggs that all look pretty much like full grown mantises when they hatch albeit tiny versions of them. Another interesting fact is that mantises will usually mate for life, this is because the female will often decapitate and eat her mate when she is done with him. This behavior can occasionally be witnessed in the wild and is quite commonly witnessed in modern day divorce court.

Did you know that in the spring you can buy mantis egg sacs in many farm and yard stores? I'm totally becoming a mantis rancher next year.

Rob Gensorek is the owner of Basin Tackle www.basintackle.net in the Charleston Marina and can be reached by phone at (541) 888-FISH, by Facebook at Basin Tackle Charleston, or e-mail at basin_tackle@yahoo.com. Robs fishing reports can be heard daily on several radio stations and his Basin Tackle Outdoor Show can be heard Wednesdays at 3 p.m. on kwro.com. In addition to all this he sometimes actually gets out and catches a fish or two.

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