About "Catch & Research"

Welcome. I found my passion in ecological economics and fishing. They are all about pursuit of unknown and uncertain objects. I always enjoy the seemingly reckless pursuit itself. This blog is a record of my long journey in research and fishing. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Captain M's canoe

Captain M has two water crafts: one SIK kayak and one canoe. When he goes fishing by himself, he uses the kayak. He carries the three person canoe when he fishes with friends. Canoe is more comfortable than kayak; it is more spacious. But canoe cannot reach narrow spots, which kayak can. When necessary, Capt. M puts trolling motor on it. This canoe is very versatile fishing craft. I caught my first ever Striped Bass, Lake Trout, and Northern Pike on this canoe!

My Kayak and the Hudson River

I have my own water craft: one person sit-on-top (SOT) kayak. I chose sit-on-top model because it is more convenient for fishing than sin-in kayak (SIK). That's what I heard, but it is not necessarily true. There is no large drawback for fishing in SIK. Capt. M has a SIK and a canoe, and he has no problem with SIK when he is fishing. Here is a picture of my kayak.

I put dish rack at back to install rod holder. You can see my two rods, a tackle box and a water bottle. There is a good story how I bought this kayak. One day, I was exploring displayed kayaks at a Dick's sporting goods store. Water crafts are expensive. Though I really wanted to have one for fishing, but I could not afford one. They were all eye candies to me. Suddenly a gentleman approached me and told me, "I have the same kayak of this with me, I want to get rid of this. I will give you deep discount, do you want to buy one from me?" I could not believe it! So, I bought the nice kayak and a paddle also. I am quite satisfied with this. Here is information of my kaysk,

Model: Ripper (Wilderness System)

Good things: small, light weight, stable, easy to fish.

Bad things: water coming into kayak (There are water holes which help stabilize the kayak. Problem is that I get wet when I paddle. I bought water cork to seal the holes, and now it is fine), small storage

Here are two pictures that I took on the Hudson river at Troy section, while I was paddling.

Captain J.P. and Congress Bridge.
Troy- Green Island Draw Bridge

Northern Pike- mean looking creature

Northern pike or Pike is well known as an ultimate killing machine in fresh water. As you can see, it has razor-sharp teeth. Never touch its mouth. I released it after taking some pictures. I heard that taste of Pike is ok, and texture of flash is squashy.

Captain M and I went to Lincoln pond in the Adirondacks. It was May but it was still cold up there. We casted crank baits at weed bed. At first cast of my white bait, I caught a big bass. After that, I casted bright green crank bait. I could see that bait fishes are quite active. After an hour of fruitless casting, I caught a about 20 inches pike. We decided to catch some Yellow Perch and do trolling with the live bait. We hooked a small perch and troll it behind canoe. Bingo! We caught a monster pike (picture). It was near 30 inches. Yellow Perch is Pike's main prey.

When: May 21, 2007
Where: Lincoln Pond
Bait: Live Yellow Perch

*To catch a Pike, you really need a wire leader because of its sharp teeth.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

CES production function, the way to go!

The Constant Elasticity of Substitution (CES) function is a complicated mathematical function. Benefit of the function is that we can control its parameter of substitution elasticity. The famous Cobb-Douglas production function has fixed unity (=1) elasticity of substitution (Actually, Cobb-Douglas is a special case of the CES function).

However, it is known that the elasticity of substitution is critical in growth model. The elasticity may be more important than saving rate. In a model, higher elasticity of substitution means more feasible indefinite growth. We show this result very easily on simulation. We really need control the elasticity of substitution in our growth model. It is the reason why I have to use the CES production function for my research. I need to verify the range of the elasticity of substitution among production factors, and apply the range in my growth model. I believe that it is the right direction for growth model to go.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Five Books which most influenced my research

(1) Ponting, C. 2007. A New Green History of the World
Great work! Even a word is not necessary to explain this book. Must read.

(2) Diamond, J. 1999. Guns, Germs, and Steel
Master piece! Simple but profound insight into whole human history.

(3) Wrigley, E.A. 2004. Poverty, Progress, and Population
Wrigley has continuously proclaimed the important role of energy in the Industrial Revolution.

Pomeranz, K. 2000. The Great Divergence
Pomeranz is a professor of Chinese history. With his findings from China, he argues 1. there were no significant institutional difference between West Europe and China, 2 then what caused the divergence of living standard between the two. He points out that new American colonies made the difference.

(5) Clark, G. 2007. Farewell to Alms
I don't buy Clark's main argument of his book. He argues genetic advance of English society made the country move forward faster. But he did remarkable data collecting work; he collected his data from old church records. Clark is an amazing historian.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dreams come true: Striped Bass!!!

(Picture: Pray for the Striper)

I went saltwater fishing with my brother. We went to Captree State Park in southern Long Island. There, we took a party boat, Captain Gillen II. Weather was not so promising: swing of pressure system. And it was cold... br.... We did bait fishing with clam. As usual at a party boat, we used heavy tackles. What we did was to drift away our hook along the current and wait. I often gave jigging motion. At first spot, I caught a small one, 25 inches. At fourth spot, finally, I hit the bull's eye. There was a strong nibble, then I set hook. It gave me an awesome 10 minute fight! Even my tough casting reel made noise of dragging, which I have never seen before. I could not be so sure whether I could win the game. But I landed the monster. It was a beautiful fish, and it was a keeper which all of us wished so badly. I didn't measure this, but it was easily over 30 inches.

At home, I made sashimi with the Striper. It was not easy to fillet such a big one. I could get enough and more sashimi to feed six people. Taste was so good and fresh. We really enjoyed it. Here is a picture of Striper sashimi. It was the best day in my fishing life! I caught the biggest fish and made food of it to feed my friends.

Here are some tips for Striper fishing when you go fishing on a party boat:

-Reel: pick a fully spooled reel. If it is not well spooled, ask a mate to switch it. You need reel out line a lot in order to drift your bait.

-Bait: Many party boats use clam meat for bait. You may think that they are too big. But don't worry about it. You can use a whole clam for one hook. Striped bass has a large mouth, and there is no problem to attack a big bait.

-Line: I think it is a real key of success. You need reel out line long enough to drift your bait. My suggestion is to reel out till you cannot feel the full weight of your sinker. It means that your sinker hits the bottom and does not move, while your bait drift along the current. It may sounds hard. But when you try it by yourself, you can understand what I said. When you give long line out, the most troublesome problems is line tangle. It is annoying, but it seems unavoidable. Alway mind other's line to reduce your chance of tangling.

-Sinker: Your mate may set the tackle for you. But usually, they put a heavier sinker than necessary. Always, lighter sinker is better because it makes little resistance when fish hit your bait. At this time, I could catch one after switching the sinker way light one.

-Bait Action: I believe action is not that significant for bait fishing. Light jigging may be enough.

-Location: Tail of a boat is the best. Because you need drift your bait away to back of the boat. You can do this at each side, but tail is most convenient. When you set hook, you need move to the tail to land fish.

(Picture: I am fighting with the almighty striper. You can see the heavy rod bending)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

[People I met at the shore] Dr. Paste Bait (떡밥)

Dr. Paste Bait is my Korean fishing buddy. We together founded Korean Fishing Club at RPI. His expertise is in making Korean traditional paste bait (called tuck-bob, 떡밥 in Korean), which is a mixture of all kinds of cereals. The bait worked well here for catfish and carp. He has his own secret formula of the bait, which I tried to steal but failed.

He has been fishing since he was young, so very experienced. He used to fish Crucian carp and carp in Korea. He still uses seemingly hundreds years old fishing rods and reels, which he brought from Korea. But with them, he always over-fishes me. I am jealous...

The Picture: He caught 23 pound carp at Peeble park, June 9th, 2007. It is the carp record of the year of our club.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Photo with President Jackson

I won a fellowship award (two more years without worry of funding!). There was a convocation at RPI. President Jackson really looks like a next door lady. Whenever I see her, I cannot believe that she is such a genius.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

First Striped Bass at Hudson

When: June 9th, 2007
Where: Hudson River near Troy dam
Lure: Deep diver (4 inch)

It took a while to catch the first striper. Capt. M is a huge fan of striper, and he brought me to striper fishing on his canoe. Whenever we went out, he caught some, but I didn't. Actually, there was problem of equipment. He used medium or medium-heavy rod with premium reel spooled with braid line. But I used bass rods with 8 pound test line. It may sound excuse, but because we use deep diver at fast current, rod strength is a critical matter. You cannot fully control your crank bait with flexible rod. (But when you use light weighted jig, rod strength is not a matter. I proved it later by catching a striper with my medium power rod)

On the day, I borrowed medium power rod from Capt. M and tied 4 inch deep diver. And finally I caught my first ever striped bass. It was decent but not big one. You can see my head lantern. Night fishing is never easy...

One more comment on fishing at Hudson: There is tide! Usually, at high tide, fishing is better. You can check tide of Hudson at this website:

Is black less intelligent than white? Genetically? Statistically!

James Watson's racially charged interview is a big issue now. A friend of mine, who studies at Stanford, posted his experience at Dr. Watson's lecture at a bulletin board before. The friend said that he was digressing too much and he seemed not to know what he was saying. He must be too old to be an active scholar. And finally, he made such a mess! Old enough to retire...

I don't know what he found about the issue in genetics. According to news coverage, I highly doubt that he actually did find evidence to support his assertion. I started imagining how economists can handle this topic? If they want, economists probably can seamlessly reached the same result with a plenty of statistical evidence. What I want to say here is that statistics, which is the best tool of economists, is dangerous when it is used without being based on prudent theory. One can easily be deceived by statistics. It is scary. I don't really trust number or statistic result before listening to the theory under the statistical analysis.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My first Walleye

I went to Hudson river for night fishing yesterday. The weather was good and tide was high. We looked for Striper and Walleye. It was slow. I brought two rods. I set one for catfish and the other for Striper. There was weak biting at the catfish rod. That was it for a while. I tried all the variety of baits, including crank (deep and shallow), swim, jig... The first hit came when I use bucktail jig. It was quite close of our canoe. Fighting was not that strong. OMG, it was handsome Walleye!!! It was the fish that originally lured me to start fishing two years ago. Length was about 20 inches. Unfortunately, My scale didn't work at the moment. Even worse, I didn't bring my camera... Too bad. It was such a critical moment in my fishing life, but I could not record it. I was so excited, and I was cramped in the leg. After releasing the beautiful one, I kept casting my bucktail jig. Another hit came, and it was stronger that first one. It was 5 lb12 oz Striper. Also, beautiful one. The climax came, when we decided to leave. After enormous hit my drag started crying. It was Striper! There was nothing but for me to hold my rod tight. It was incredible fight. I tried to reel in, but it resisted like a rock. After several minutes' fighting, eventually the fish came off. I could not land it, but had great sport.

I took pictures of my bucktail jigs which did a great job yesterday when I got back home. Here they are. Of course, no better than fish pictures, they are beautiful, too, aren't they? ^^;

They are small. But I think their tail may exaggerate their action. I retrieved them in faster tempo because of strong current.

Friday, October 12, 2007

IPCC and Al Gore win Nobel Peace Prize

You must be surprsed and a bit cheered by the news, so did I. What an inspiring news for environmental groups it is! I want to point out that it is Nobel " Peace" Prize, not a science one. Still there are many things that scientist community do not know about climate change. I would like to consider the meaning of the prize as the whole global community reached to a consensus about the potential danger of climate change at least. Now, no body does not suspect something goes wrong on this planet. I am so glad to hear about the prize decision. What do you think?

Climate change is clearly related to world peace issue. According to the UN secretariat Ban , Darfur crisis was caused by water shortage, which was believed to be caused by climate change. In some countries, especially poor ones, climate change already seem to be a matter of survival. In this sense, Gore's winning of Peace Prize can be justified.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Iranian president at Columbia

To be honest, I was surprised when I found out that the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would speak at Columbia university. Media broadly reported the event as a case of freedom of speech in the US. The event itself was very meaningful one. However, I found some scenes of the event are pretty ridiculous and disgusting from a slightly different point of view from the opinion of majority. Here is what I found after reading New York Times and watching news coverages.


(1)Columbia president's introduction: Columbia president, Mr. Lee C. Bollinger said, " Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," adding "You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."
-> I have never heard such a rude introduction ever. I would like to ask why Columbia invited him. In order to listen his uneducated speech? It sounds like insult on Mr. Ahmadinejad and also on the audience. The audience gathered to listen a dumb evil to speak, didn't they? He may know about freedom of speech, but do not know of the right attitude of discussion. Once you invite someone, please welcome him/her and listen first. You invite someone to discussion to listen from him/her, not to humiliate, don't you? In the yesterday event, there was no listening or tolerance and so not productive.

(2) The event's moderator's treatment of the Iranian president: Dean John H. Coatsworth was the moderator. He pushed the president to answer questions directly; saying, "I think you can answer that question with a simple yes or no." And the president didn't answer directly.
-> Did the president come to a court? Was he at a defendant seat? I wonder whether Mr. Coatsworth can treat Mr. Bush like that when he asks questions like," whether you will withdraw from Iraq or not," If he can, let's send him to Mr. Bush to get clear cut answer. If I could see arrogance of American, am I the only one who could. I felt Mr. Coatsworth and Mr. Bollinger maltreated the president like that because " we are American, and you a president from one ignorant country." Oh, well, have you thought about why there exists anti-American mood in the world?


(1) Crowd shouted "USA" and waved American flag
->For what? Did they want to threat the Iranian president?

(2) Police's ban of the President's visit on ground zero: According to diplomatic protocol, foreign diplomats visiting UN are guaranteed for their free travel in a 25-mile radius zone around Columbus circle. In his speech, the president presented his intention to visit the site and show his respects to the victims.
->I think there was no reason to ban him to visit ground zero. In the opposite, it could deliver a threatening message to extreme terrorists in the world; Iran does not support terrorism. Many assert that Iran supported Al Qaeda in 9/11. But there is less evidence of the support than the evidence that Iraq had WMD. Iran is a Shia country while Al Qaeda is extreme Suni organization. There was bloody history between two faith. Does Iran support Iraqi insurgence? Yes, it does. Indeed, Iran supports Shia muslim in Iraq in order to establish favorable government in Iraq. Isn't it natural government action? Of course, it is against the interest of the US in the middle east. In particular, the interest of oil provision. Iraq was the unfortunate soft target of the US. Now, Iran seems to become another target which is, however, not so soft.

(3) Ran-off of the president Blooinger: After the event an Iranina woman approached him and complained about his harsh language. He responded "These are very important things that have to be said," and then the ran off.
->Excuse me, what was important? We all knew that Mr. Ahmadinejad is a notorious dictator. He might want to say, "It was very important to accuse him in front of him, in order to entertain our financial supporters and to secure our funding."

(4) President Bush's comment as usual
->He said he had no problem with the event, although he might not invite the Iranian president. He added "he's the head of a state sponsor of terror (so, I want to shot him in the head in the US soil)."

Although it was very significant event in academia and US politics, Columbia's handling of the event was very disappointing. They just wanted to propagate that America has the freedom of speech, and to show that they humiliates America's enemy badly. They might have had to consider their financial supporters by doing so. Pretty disgusting and ridiculous.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why should we care about the environment?

Too simple question? But it is the question that have haunted me since 1997. What do you think? Why do we have to care? Quick response may be, "The environmental quality degrades badly, and it could endanger human existence in the future. So, we have to do something now for the future generation." Then let me ask, "Does the environmental quality get really worse? You may say about global warming, but is there enough evidence that global warming means total extinction of human species?" As everything has two aspects: good and bad, global warming may have benefits and costs. For example, in temperate zone, now large tropical fish are often caught. Fishermen can benefit from the new species. Of course, there is a issue of resilience and adaptability of human economies to the new change, but I cannot accept the idea that global warming has only dire scenes. There must be some opportunities coming with it. What are the real benefits and costs from the environmental protection? Do we need conserve the environment as pristine as it was? I have been lived as an environmentalist for 10 years. Now, I want to see the truth through the cloud of ideologies.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How can we explain economic growth in the very long run?

Why did the West become richer than the East? Why is there large income disparity in the world? These might be the ultimate questions that economists have to answer. It is my decade long question, too. We can find many potential answers in economics literature: institution, capital investment, technological progress, even gene and so on.

Whichever explanations, I see, are all about how superior the West was then the East. Were they "genetically" smarter than the rest of the world? Was Adolph Hitler right? (If it is offensive, I apologize. But I want to be provocative.) Do you agree with that? I cannot. When I meet local farmers in poor regions, I am surprised by their insight on everything. Their skills and production technology improves not stagnates, although the rate is very slow. They are not that stupid or retard. History shows that China or Japan were not that behind in the 17th and 18th centuries. They had similar technologies and very capitalist institutions to the west. Then, why some countries could rise, while the others fell.

Then, I suggest to focus on environmental determinism. In particular, environmental change, such as deforestation or extinction of big animal, could be explanatory variable in the disparity of very long run growth. I would like to take a look at the transition of energy source. How did fossil fuel shape current economic status? How will human economies change after fossil fuel era?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dare to be WRONG!

I have had a hard time recently. Not only because my research advisor suddenly left school. I had a trouble to write something related to my research. During the course work, I did not really need write my own paper. But now I have to, and it is so hard and even fearsome. What is wrong with me?

I took some time to consider this matter. My analysis is that I fear too much to be wrong, and this fear discourages me to build my own idea. Whenever I start writing, I worry too much about others' responses and critiques in advance. What a coward I am! I'd like to blame my education which I had in Korea. I was always trained to pick a right answer! The right answer was already determined by teachers. One cannot pick the pre-determined right answer was regarded as inferior and useless. I have had raised my inner fear to be wrong in this environment.

When I moved on to higher education, my confusion started: which is wrong and which is right. Yes, it is hard to pinpoint as we learn more. In particular, in social science like economics, politics and sociology. I know that, but it is never easy to overcome my inner fear. I hope for me to be dare enough to be wrong. My paper may be wrong. But it does not mean that my paper have no reason to be published, as every creature has reason to exist in the ecosystem. Even the notorious Herpes virus is known to have some benefits for humans' immune system. I have to speak and write my idea, whether it is right or wrong. There must be some benefits for others and for myself.


*I thought that it was perfect start for my research related posts.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

[People I met at the shore] Capt. M

Captain M. He was one of students in a class that I TAed. On the first day of class, I did a brief survey to students in order to memorize students' name. One question was, "What is your favorite hobby?" And he answered, "I love fishing." I approached him, and we became fishing buddies soon. He started fishing only two years ago, but he has reached expertise o ffishing, in particular in bass fishing, such as large mouth, small mouth, and striped bass. His casting is so razor-accurate, and I call it the art of casting. His lure choices are tube and senko (crank bait for striper). He has bunch of premium reels like Scorpion. He is not that picky about rod, though he prefers sturdy glass fiber ones, such as Ugly Stik. He has a kayak and a canoe with trolling motor. He is my fishing instructor; I first learned about lure fishing from him. His dream is to own a charter boat for salt water fishing when he retires. I hope that he will be a real captain someday.

(Picture: while we went trout trolling at Shaver pond, Grafton, NY.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Freshwater Drum (Sheephead)

When: 11/07/2006
Where: Mohawk River
How: bottom rig with night crawler

A Chinese classmate told me about a spot with plenty of big fish. I casted night crawler on #2 hook and waited. After not so long time, it started biting. It almost pulled in my fishing rod. But fighting was not that strong or exciting. Just hauling. I took some pictures of and released it. I ate this fish before, and the taste wasn't that good. Later I found out that this fish was commercially farmed and used for live stock feed. @.@

Pumpkin Seed (Sunfish or Panfish)

When: 07/18.2005
Where: Near Montezuma reserved area
How: bobber+sinker rig with night crawler

Let's be honest. Sunfish must be the most common fish that you will meet. They are great fighters, and they even taste good. But few anglers show proper respect to them. Sometimes, they are regarded as nuisance. When I started learning fishing, they were great instructors. Even now, I test my new lure with them. BTW, frying is the best way to cook them, I think.

Brown Trout

When: 07/13/2005
Where: Butternut Creek
How: bobber+sinker rig with night crawler

I didn't expect much. Trout is very weary and likes cold water. It was a humid and warm summer night. I was casting into Butternut creek right below Jamesville reservoir dam. It was boring task, actually. Mosquitoes were quite active. Finally, I got a bite. It was a small brown trout! I heard that Brown trout is rather more resistant warm weather than other trout species. At home, I cleaned and grilled it. It was perfect with beer at hot summer night.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Golden Shiner

When: 06/18/2005
Where: Constantia, NY
How: Night Crawler on bobber-sinker rig

It was good eat! I heard that it is bait fish and usually released by anglers. But it looked so good, shining! So, I took it home and grilled it. Taste was good!

Cutlip Minnow (sucker), first eat

When: 06/11/2005
Where: Near Jamesville, NY
How: Night Crawler on bobber-sinker rig

It was the first catch that I ate. I baked them in oven. Taste? Um.... not good. Too fishy.

Snapping Turtle, by-catch...

When: May 28th, 2005
Where: Muskrat Bay at Oneida Lake
How: By catch

To be honest, this snapping turtle was my first catch. I fished with simple bobber-sinker rig, and somehow this turtle was caught on my line. It was already badly entangled by other lines. It was tough to get rid of the lines and release it. When you are snagged, please try to recover as much line as you can. Abandoned line can kill many creatures including birds.

First Fish Ever ! Large Mouth Bass

I caught this large mouth bass at Constantia, NY, June 10th, 2005. There is a fish hatchery, so there are plenty of fish. Unfortunately, it was bass season, so I quick released after taking this picture. I could not measure anything, but it was a result after 7 fishless trips. I used night crawler on bobber and sinker rig.