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Jonny

Freshwater Drum Otoliths

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I had heard about these, but never seen one. Their purpose seems to be to give the fish balance.

 

Apparently native people used to think they had some mystical power. People nowadays sometimes use them for jewelry. Supposedly they're the closest thing to ivory in a fish.

 

These otoliths, from about a 7 lb. drum, are about the size of a nickel, and in texture and weight they feel like broken pieces of river pebble, not bone.

 

I found an internet site that showed a diagram of how to remove them, so I decided to try it. You have to cut the head exactly in half longitudinally - quite a chore, even with a heavy hunting knife. When you've done that you can make out the pockets that the otoliths are in (marked in the photo). Clear away a bit of very soft tissue and you can gently work them out with the tip of your knife.

 

A couple of pics I took:

P6102435__1024x768_low.jpg

P6102433__1024x768_low.jpg

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Don't worry Peter, they taste just as good as the eyes! Just joking here folks....

now back to you regularilly scheduled Sheepie discussion!

HH

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Then what do you do with them?

 

I dunno. :P

 

Make a pair of earrings?

 

I know of at least one lodge on Nipissing that will cut them out for you if you want them. Souvenir, I guess.

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Put them in a tumbler to polish them, drill a hole in each and string them like beads. Or make earings.

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Age your own sheepshead? What otoliths are really used for

 

Yes, I learned that by searching around, but I wouldn't want to destroy one by cutting it apart.

 

To each their own bud...Ive dissected enough of these for various studies that I wouldn't do it for kicks

 

I can see why! Well it's the first I've ever tried it, and maybe the last if I don't use them for anything. Kind of interesting when it's a first-time thing, but I can see that the novelty might fade pretty fast unless you used something like a bandsaw! :D

 

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Bob, wouldn't a tumbler break the edges?

Edited by Jocko Point Jonny

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Probably another animal part that's supposed to give you a super hard-on :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

 

 

That's the belly button lint from a mature left-handed snapping turtle that does that. Don't ask me how I know.

 

JF

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Yes, I learned that by searching around, but I wouldn't want to destroy one by cutting it apart.

 

 

 

I can see why! Well it's the first I've ever tried it, and maybe the last if I don't use them for anything. Kind of interesting when it's a first-time thing, but I can see that the novelty might fade pretty fast unless you used something like a bandsaw! :D

 

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Bob, wouldn't a tumbler break the edges?

 

Of course, but that's so ya don't carve up yer ears when ya start wearing the new sporty earrings ya made. It's getting evermore dangerous to be a he-man fisherjock, isn't it? :P

 

JF

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Of course, but that's so ya don't carve up yer ears when ya start wearing the new sporty earrings ya made.

 

Only one. And a patch over the left eye. And a baitcaster for a whip. Avast, ye mateys! :P

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Only one. And a patch over the left eye. And a baitcaster for a whip. Avast, ye mateys! :P

 

I'll bet you own a parrot, right?

 

JF

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Hmmmm I'll bet your wife hides all the utensils and garden tools before going to bed eh?

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Hmmmm I'll bet your wife hides all the utensils and garden tools before going to bed eh?

 

Yeah, Roy, it does look like a butcher shop in that one photo. I couldn't think of another way to show how it's done. I visited some sites where it was only described or diagrammed and they were of limited help.

 

Cutting up any animal is not my favourite thing to do, and this was a little more distasteful than just filleting a fish, for some reason. But like they say, "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs".

 

Cutting the antlers off a moose or deer is no fun either. :wacko:

 

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No, John, no parrot. I don't want to be stereotyped. :P

Edited by Jocko Point Jonny

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Well that was interesting. You know I've known of these otoliths (we just called 'em stones) since I was a kid and never once did I actually go in and dig 'em out and I think now I know why. ;)

 

 

Thanks for the anatomy lesson JPJ. :)

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I think Hannibal started his career in a similar way.

 

I'm getting the distinct impression you guys are squeamish! :D:D :D

 

Do you clean your own fish or do you bring 'em home for the wife to do them? :huh:

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I think all fish have them , at fleming we took odoliths from the odd dead bluegill, pumpkin seed , walleye caught in our nets. If you use a diamond edged cutting tool you can cut them in half and use a microscope to check the fish's age. They have rings like a tree.

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I was just wondering how many rings it had? do you have to cut them in half to see the rings? just curious as I don't see myself doing it anytime soon.

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Cleans the edges off for sure but they are nice looking when they're done. Don't put heavy stuff in the tumbler with them.

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