Friday, January 03, 2014

Just for fun -- watching a surf swimming plug from below (and, some ideas for getting started in small, creative niche businesses . . . and areas of Christian service)

I ran across this video of a surf swimming plug in action filmed from below:

(And yes, I know it is a bit of an ad for a custom wood plug manufacturer, so what those guys make good baits, and the vid gives us a fish's eye view of what such looks like in its intended environment swimming near bait fish pods.)

A typical example of such a plug from the same maker, Tattoo:

A "Danny" (as in Pichney) type metal "Z-lip" swimming plug, which will wiggle at or near the surface when reeled in slowly. The hooks and line-tying eye are all connected to a single piece of heavy wire. There will be a lead weight in the belly, that helps keep it upright and floating at rest. On being reeled in, its lip will "bite" and throw off a train of vortices -- a von Karman vortex street -- alternating left and right, as well as pulling a bit down. That tends to make it wobble. the angles and lever arms will tend to make it also roll. If the lip os more nearly horizontal, it will tend to dive more deeply, but it is best to leave that as the maker developed it . . . likely through trial and error. Bending the line tie eye up/down is a more user controllable way to manage depth behaviour. The eyes of course are an attention-getting target -- for fishermen even more than fish -- if no one buys the bait it matters not that it is a fish-catcher! Cf Bassdozer's Plugology page for more. (HT: S84, SOL forums, fair use . . . he was having a swimming problem.)

It is worth the pause to snip out a still from the video, to see the fish's view of a sub-surface bait fish or lure:

In short, given the strange effects of refraction, total internal reflection in a rumpled surface and the effects of how light comes in from above and below . . . e.g. notice how the bottom of the lure is a tad darkish (a real fish's counter-shading tends to be pretty bright at the bottom [but, then, that might look like a blood trail]) . . . a fish has to be smarter than we think, to survive in its world. With a brain the size of maybe a pea or not a whole lot bigger than that:

Anatomy of a typical bony fish, showing the relatively small brain (HT: Anatomy of Animals, cf. also here and here on, on the almost inevitable evolutionary assumptions and underlying issues involved in the educational page just linked)

Of course the image of a bait above shows why it is helpful if there is something a bit different, and outstanding about a lure. Bait fish tend to come in schools, and a common evasion tactic is the light ball explosion as they flash away in a rapidly expanding, confusing ball. Which is fish and which is mere reflection seen in the instant of the attack may be hard to spot. But if there is something that looks like say a bit of blood trailing . . . which will look blackish under water . . . then that will be an outstanding feature that will naturally attract the attention of a predator. For, for that "fish," it will be quite easy to see which of the images is the bottom one. As the saying goes, "duppy know who fe frighten."

So, there is more at work here than meets the casual eye.

So also, lure designers have some subtle challenges to meet.

Just to catch the fish.

To catch the fisherman, to get him to buy the bait and use it and spread word on effectiveness, that is another matter.

In short -- you guessed it -- successful lure manufacturers are also effective as "fishers of men."

Which itself points to . . .  the spiritual significance (for good or ill) of marketing.

(More on that another day, DV. Let's just say for now that the Marlboro man game is also afoot and the difference between nourishing fish food and an attractively wiggling, wobbling, flashing and swimming but deadly lure is an important lesson for men too.)

And to get an idea of the challenges the designers and manufacturers had to overcome to break into the market, try the interview here. Salty's NC-machine cut custom plug kits here are also well worth a look . . . and he is a model of how a small specialty item manufacturer can find a profitable niche. (Notice, having set up his own NC machine shop, he is now offering design and development services to do the same to others. That's diversification. )

I think there are ideas there for us in the Caribbean to begin to build our own small niche industrial businesses based on creativity, artistry, research -- those guys have to make plugs that not only catch fish but fishermen based on aesthetics -- and the skill to build a small business by spotting and exploiting opportunities. 

To give just one idea, the other day I saw a lady proudly wearing an unusual necklace made of the exotic Guyanese wood, Purple Heart. It had been cut out on an NC machine as an all in one carving, each inter-locking link being all in one piece.  The whole was a complete interlocking circle without clasps. It was beautiful.

Here is the kicker: by a friend in the United States.

Custom turned wood barrel pens are another highly desirable specialty item, and so are wood pendants for necklaces, etc. 

For that matter, there is an expat lady here who has a nice pair of earrings made from . . . Ting Grapefruit juice based soft drink bottle caps!

How many other similar possibilities are there out there, that we are not even seeing?  END

PS: Don't overlook the vid too. It's a work of art, a short film that tells a story mostly using pictures, animations, carefully shot video sequences . . . from underwater,  and music, with a beginning, bridge, main story and culmination. There are ideas there and opportunities there for education, music, targetted advertising of small businesses and more. What if, some budding young crew out there were to use short vid clips to boil discipleship down and issues down to 5 - 10 or 15 minute vids as creative as this? Or even to do a series of 1/2 hr or 1 hr seminars in an interesting format for education and training on issues of interest, etc? Do you see ideas for multimedia integrated education sites, set up that they can be easily accessed using tablets . . . the hottest computing platform now, apart from smart phones? [I go for the tabs or phablets . . . big screen smart phones that are small tablets . . . because I also have in mind reading of content. Hey, just yesterday I had a chat with my young pastor in a shop where he works during the week as an electronics sales person, and he pulled up James 3:1 - 7 on his iPod . . .  the Bible he walks with and also the educational platform he uses to watch debates etc. That iPod is the same form factor as many smart phones. Doesn't scare people off! And I bet they cannot ban personal smart phones in your office or campus -- unlike, say, crucifixes.]