Thursday, 3 October 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Scrag-ends and Scratch Platters

Figuring out exactly what happens after a bunch of pigs are brought into a slaughterhouse and before they leave as a depressing pallet of Spam tins is near impossible. But evidence suggests that the meat in Spam is a combination of pork shoulder and ham, a leg cut preserved by curing, errrr yeah, ok....

....I know is Sam likes the scrag-ends pre fishing session, and Barbel like the big lumps, what's in it, God only knows.

Now as with most processed meat products, concerns about what goes on in the slaughterhouses that produce Spam are warranted but then pork manufacturing in general I suppose.


You see in October 2007, the Minnesota Department of Health was notified of 10 patients experiencing unusual neurologic illness who worked at a swine abattoir in Minnesota. It was reported that patients experienced significant sensory symptoms including numbness and tingling as well as limb weakness consistent with polyradiculoneuropathy, and was initially referred to as progressive inflammatory neuropathy

Now described as sensory predominant, immune-mediated polyradiculoneuropathy. Among those that had been evaluated in a health care setting, cerebrospinal fluid protein was elevated in the absence of pleocytosis and several had evidence of spinal nerve root or spinal cord inflammation on MRI . The illness appeared to be associated with working in the plant and was unlike previously described occupational associated illnesses.

The plant employed 1,300 workers and slaughters >19,000 pigs per day. The patients worked in the warm-room, the area where hogs are eviscerated and initially processed. Seven patients worked at the head-table, the area within the warm-room where skin, skeletal muscle, and brain are removed from severed swine heads with jet washers or something like that.. Two shifts, each employing 200 workers, operate in the warm-room, with 35–40 workers at the head-table during each shift.

Makes you think what your about to put in your mouth doesn't it !!!!

Then again I've eaten brain in the past whilst visiting the Far East, waste not want not and all that, it was rather nice if I recall with an interesting texture.

Look, I can appreciate a slice of Spam. Hell, I even crave the stuff from time to time. But the facts are, Spam is loaded with carcinogenic meat, brimming with sodium and laden with a preservative that could have deadly side effects. Spam boasts virtually zero important vitamins and minerals.

I will say, however, that while Spam has a seriously bad reputation for being some kind of disgusting mystery meat, the sad truth is, most processed meats are just as tampered with. So I guess in that sense, Spam might not be as uniquely gross as you thought, but that says more about processed meat in general than about Spam specifically. The best course of action is to keep your Spam intake to a minimum, which should be easy enough considering you probably thought eating the stuff was weird to begin with.


Ok a little copy and paste the above but ones fishing sessions have been a little like that of late with mediocre results where the Barbel are concerned. You see the last season fish an hour before dusk in certain swims I was almost guaranteed a bite. Those that packed up before Sundown without even a sniff of a Barbel during the day were cursing the fishing, but give it another forty five minutes the rod top would have gone from stationary to nearly being pulled in as soon as the bats appeared.

Most of my Barbel fishing sessions were less than 2 hours and always headed in to dusk. My biggest fish of 12lb 14oz picking up a huge piece of garlic spam as a resting barn owl was watching opposite. So what's gone wrong I wonder, 6 or 7 sessions without a Barbus that to be honest when you locate them are not that hard to catch.

If I look at my blog though most Barbel I fish far are not until October onwards when the water starts to chill the bigger fish in need of a feed. But then I'm of similar make-up once the weather turns parky. You see out goes the cold salads, Greek yogurt and fruit and out comes the homemade curries for lunch. Stick with the salads I'm always looking for the next snack.


The fish are no different they will generally feed when they are hungry especially with coloured water when they are not having to watch their backs all the time. They have to get on the food as soon as they find it as well, if more rain comes their buffet could be washed away and wouldn't want that would they. 

Anyway back on track, with the local rivers been heading over their banks the levels had finally started to come down which meant that I'd have more time to hopefully keep a chunk of spam in position. Just one Barbel would do for the minute just to register a score on the Bloggers Challenge Scoreboard and I'd fish in the winter when a proper lump would most likely appear.  

So enough of the guff, anything doing ?


Errrr straight to the point sadly not. When I was parking up two anglers had been there for 8 hours and not had a touch in an area I was headed for, so that didn't bode well for a start. The river was the highest I'd ever seen it but the colour looked good for a bite. I found a nice swim with even pace and put the rods out. Both large lumps of spam and a paste plug both covered in a liquid attractant. After 40 minutes in the first swim without a touch I moved downstream to a similar swim and this was where I'd stay in to dusk.

As the light was starting to go whilst I was attending to a call of nature the right hand rod received a bite, a couple of pulls and and then a fast twang. A Chub me thinks and sadly with an imposed finishing time that was all the action I got. I think next time I'll cast my net wider and maybe gear up for Barbel and Chub this time at a stretch that is home to my biggest Chub and also by one time PB. I couldn't do any worse than I have been doing anyway.

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