Wednesday, August 05, 2020:
Never trust a tropical cyclone with a name you can’t pronounce. It’ll do things you didn’t expect, like sucking power out of most homes in Southern Ocean County. Energy hog!
I’ll leave the slowness of the power return to LBI in the hands of government officials, who’ll surely scream we got the short end of the repair crew stick. I can quantify that by noting that when repair crews finally hit LBI today, they got the juices flowing again within just a couple hours, meaning there was nothing wrong that couldn’t have been fixed quickly – had the crews shown us some love. I know that’s Island-centric, but I always try to look out for our Mother Island.
As to why so many poles and trees came down, it might have been a combo effort by nature. The wicked derecho that sent 90-mph winds across the region not that many weeks back likely weakened many upright objects, leaving them ready to tumble from TS Weird-Name. Ok, it was called Isaias, which is pronounced just the way it sounds. And, it seems, she was a he -- a transgender tropical system of sort. The hurricane before Isaias was Hanna while the following one is Josephine, thus in-between Isaias is a he-name.
As the sea settles fairly quickly, it is always a crap shoot when it comes to what fishy will follow even a quick blow like the I-man. Odds are very little will change, especially with so little rain falling. No deluges, which fill the bay with road gunk and cooler water, both of which can throw a wrench into fluking. And fluking had been running quite sweetly before things got a bit cyclonic.
Naturally, seeing it's August, shorts have gone gonzo in numbers, proving the bays, inlets and some ocean areas are paved with flatties. Good luck to any other fish species small enough for the multitudinous fluke to inhale.
DEAD SHARK RISING: My weekly column speaks of the major great white hoisted up by commercial fishermen Tim Brindley. It caused an expected social stir due to the blood the DOA issued forth when it was lifted up adjacent to Capt. Tim’s boat. Such blood flow is not always an indicator of a just-died fish, especially when considering it had been down in the cooler water toward the bottom.
Tim now doubly wishes he had brought it back to the docks for experts to toy with. Not only would their findings debunk suspicions that he had anything to do with its demise but it might have found the bullet I think was in its head. Believe me, there are high-powered crazies who won’t think twice about offing a great white. That said, it could also be a case of the shark ingesting something even its rock-solid construction couldn’t handle. Finally, as I write in my weekly, it could even be a female that suffered a catastrophic delivery. The only way to know is if it washes ashore, which it still might – if the sharks don’t get it first.
Email: That close!
"Apparently there was a tornado on LBI this morning. My son and I got caught in the middle of it as we were walking from the high ground of the Heron Street bridge, where we had just parked our car, back to our vacation rental on E. Mallard Dr. We’re OK, but it was quite the experience; and to be honest, we didn’t even realize it was a tornado till we got back to the house and a neighbor shouted out, ‘Hey, did you guys just get caught in that tornado’. In any event, if you’re planning to do a story on the tornado we’d be happy to share our experience. And we’d be curious to hear about other peoples experience of it as well. Kind regards, Barry P. "
Greatly switching gears, it seems the coyotes living in the northlands, what we call Barnegat Light, might now have a price on their heads. Some cat lady said here beloved Fifi was put upon when out back. Fish and Wildlife is setting traps – or, more likely, hiring someone to trap the wild canines. I knew it would be cat people bringing the coyotes down to protect their free-roaming semi-pets.
The northwest Atlantic, i.e. us, is experiencing something called a marine heatwave, or MHW.
No advanced degrees are needed to decipher that lingo. A group appropriately called marineheatwaves.org explains, “These marine heatwaves, when ocean temperatures are extremely warm for an extended period of time can have significant impacts on marine ecosystems and industries …”
This climate watchdog group further advises, “Marine heatwaves clearly have the potential to devastate marine ecosystems and cause economic losses in fisheries, aquaculture, and ecotourism industries. However, their effects are often hidden from view under the waves until it is too late. By raising general awareness of these phenomena, and by improving our scientific understanding of their physical properties and ecological impacts, we can better predict future conditions and protect vulnerable marine habitats and resources.”
While I’ve tenaciously fought efforts to abandon the coast on the basis of purely anecdotal projections of sea level timetables – knowing the astounding variables playing into coastal submersion – I’ve fearmongered that the planet’s warming seas will have a far more immediate impact on us long before seas envelope us.
Impacts from warmer seas are already upon us in an ecosystem way. Take for long and shiny instance, southerly houndfish. They’re showing at every turn for nearshore boat anglers. Weirder still is the unprecedented showings of frigate mackerel. Those are the speedy pelagic-looking fish that have many Jersey anglers asking, “What the hell is this fish.” My first read on seeing one had be thinking husky Spanish mackerel. However, anglers who spend time down south immediately knew what they were, passing on takes of their deliciousness – as highly opposed to false albies, for which some fishermen have mistaken the frigate mackerel.
I have to think that greater and greater summer showings of sheepsheads and maybe even kingfish have a warming-ocean angle to their numbers. As to the couple/few tarpon showing up, I need to see more of those caught before labeling them as riders of the MHWs.
By the by, I was told many years ago that birds are also among the many indicators of not just warmer weather overall but particularly warming seas. The most indicative species is the pelican, of which we’ve had summer flocks for, what, 25 years now. None had been seen before, going back eons. Yes, they’re losing habitat to the south but these fish-eaters are also topnotch detectors of large shifts in available fish forage, like that being spurred by warmer ocean waters.
Here's is a highly telling excerpt from the Tuckerton Historic Society book Tuckerton: A Newspaper History, 1852-1917 by Steve Dodson. It highlights a study that exposes the fact that the science behind fishery management pretty much stunk up the place back in the day, for instance, “The report of the scientists after years of study is that the fisheries have no appreciable effect upon the number of fish left.”
(I’m leaving the caps in to pass on the story as it appeared on April 2, 1908.)
“INVESTIGATING SCIENTISTS PROVE MAN CAN’T AFFECT SEAFISH SUPPLY/ MANY YEARS STUDY IN NORTH SEA, LEADS LEARNED MEN TO EXPRESS THIS OPINION in view of the long continued discussion in New Jersey, based on the belief held by many sportsmen that the fishes of the north Atlantic are being depleted by the ocean fisheries, particularly by the pounds, the following statement is of peculiar interest. The North Sea is fished as no other body of sea has ever been; yet the report of the scientists after years of study is that the fisheries have no appreciable effect upon the number of fish left. The general law was deduced from the astonishing wandering of many fish species that they can never be seriously affected by merely local conditions. The observers believe they have proved that the growth and productiveness offish is a subject to such a mighty natural influences, such as climatic changes in the various regions which they frequent, that they may be regarded as independent of the interference of the fisheries of man. It is certain that man has considerably reduced the number of plaice, haddock, cod in some waters, but not to such an extent as to have more than a temporary effect.”
Jim Hutchinson Sr.
The fishing over the past week in the Beach Haven area has been very strong. However, the captains of the Beach Haven Charter fishing Association are casting a wary eye at the development of Hurricane Isaias. Although the storm is still south of the United States, Isaias is sure to influence the fishability of local waters for the next few days.
The water temperature in the bay waters behind Long Beach Island have been reaching 80-degrees and even warmer. As a result, most of the fluke have made their move into the ocean. That is where the captains have been concentrating their efforts with much success.
Captain Frank Camarda reports the party boat “Miss Beach Haven” has been finding some nice sized fish on both its ocean and bay trips. One recent pool winner took honors with a 25-inch fluke. Their 6-hourtrips on Saturdays and Sundays have proven to be very popular and advance reservations help secure a spot at the rail.
The “Starfish” with Captain Carl Sheppard has been fishing inshore structure regularly. A recent trip with a local family experienced action-packed fishing all day. The crew fished many wrecks and caught over 60 fish including sea bass, sea robins, and fluke. The crew kept sea bass and fluke for dinner. Some sea bass have measured up to 16-inches.
Captain Gary Dugan has seen the rods on the “Irish Jig” bending with large numbers of short fish with some fluke making it into the cooler along with some sea bass and even a ling. Early trip had decent action on short fish with these 2 keepers. Captain Gary had a shark charter for the birthday girl Kim, and they managed a4-foot tiger shark among other fish.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing continues to experience excellent action with up to 30 fish on a tide, although most are throwbacks. Recent trips have seen up to 5 keepers along with some sea bass and even a short striped bass on one trip. Captain Brett says his trolling motor was pivotal in keeping them on the edge between the wind and tide.
Captain Dave Wittenborn had the Smale group on the “Benita J” offshore on a tuna trip. The crew put together a nice catch of 50-60-pound class yellowfin tuna. By mid-morning everyone was tired from reeling in tuna, and they headed back home. Captain Dave stressed it was a great group that never once complained about the sporty conditions.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.bhcfa.net