Age-adjusted Popeye ... Imagine Olive Oil.
5/28/2015: The wind has been wrecking things … good things. The very decent fluke bite has been blown away, even in the bay. The southerlies – combined with insane tidal swings – have made even protected bayside areas a bitch to drift.
I have no idea why tides have been radical lately – more so in some areas of the bay than others. Astronomically, we are actually in a low tide swing period, meaning the differences between low and high tides shouldn’t be that great.
I’ve been put off my claims of water temps in the low 60s. Maybe farther south, but not hereabouts. Try 52. This upwelling from the blow isn't helping what was a decent, albeit short-lived, striper showing along the beach.
The bluefish are becoming scarcer and scarcer -- then suddenly reshow, here and there. Not easy finding them. Opening to Barnegat Inlet is always the most likely locale for blows.
To date, bad to awful year for blowfish, though water temps are surely not to their liking just yet. They greatly prefer warmth. In fact, as we've all seen, the perish in sudden icy water, as we now have. If you're having luck with these puffer, please let me know. I don't want the exact spots. I just want to make sure this year's biomass is not as bad as it now seems.
Below: When things are good, from www.hooked-in.com.
And how about that sizzling striper taken by “Steve Burke who caught a 47", 33 lb. striped bass off of beach one in Holgate Saturday. He was celebrating his 30th birthday with family and friends. Steve is an 11 year veteran of the LBT Beach Patrol and resides in Medford Lakes and Holgate.” Emailed by C. Burke.
Pictures were taken at Farreny's Dock.
You gotta see this kayak catch. Hell, I'd be screaming like a sissy-Mary, too.
NEWSFLASH, J-mann-style ... or not.
Lately, I’ve been testing artificial intelligence (AI) fishing plugs -- soon to absolutely flood the market. These realistically-shaped, wonderfully colored shallow-diving plugs are an absolute, computerized dynamo.
The only thing that visually sets them apart from other plugs (above) is a barely noticeably, downwardly looking computerized “eye,” mounted on the bottom, behind a clear acrylic lens.
When an artificial intelligence lure is being retrieved, the “eye” slowly rotates within a tiny socket, searching roughly a 180-degree range below it, looking for the approach of any interested gamefish. Its search is geared to home in on shapes and slight water temperature variations.
Below: Greatly enlarged.
Should the plug see a “follower,” it beams a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth alert signal back to a special stereo headset/receiver being worn by the angler. The alert is usually a fish-finder type of beeping sound. The volume on these headsets can be adjusted.
Once a fish is fully in play, the AI plug triggers its onboard 1-gigabyte memory banks, containing all known piscatorial body positions, with an emphasis on regional gamefish – which can be geographically entered when first activating the plug. I put in every species I could think of.
With its internal computers humming, the plug begins interpreting any and all moves being made by an following gamefish. Upwards of 9,000 fish “body languages” are interpreted in a microsecond.
Upon determining a fish’s body language indicates it’s seriously stalking, and not merely a “passer-by,” the AI plug initiates its artificial vocalization diaphragm, which verbally suggests the tweaks an angler should make to the plug.
(Entertainingly, a number of these new AI plugs are legally using the voice of Canadian Douglass Rain, the immortal voice of the computer Hal 9000, from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”)
The prototype plug I tested gave me a crisp, clear, highly Hal-ish, “You might want to slow your retrieve ever so slightly, J-Mann.”
I had programed in my name.
During initial startup, all AI plugs are, for whatever reason, defaulted to use the name Sylvester, meaning just about everyone must make a name change.
Although the initial startup of an AI plug is somewhat complex, it is immensely helpful that most accept verbal commands. Just don’t accidently set the “Language” at “Chinese,” like I did -- when I was initializing my plug and someone asked what I wanted for dinner and I shouted “Chinese.” Doh!
Do you know I actually had to take my plug over to the new Chinese restaurant in Ship Bottom just to get someone to tell the damn thing to switch back to English? Here are these very nice Asian folks, new to LBI, and I nonchalantly walk in and ask them to explain to a fishing lure that I want it to go back to speaking English. Noticeably nervous, a cook and a waitress leaned over and, never taking their eyes off me, said some magic mandarin -- and I was back in English business! Yes, I bought something. I think it was lo mein. Quite tasty
But back to the IA plug.
Should a following fish begin displaying subtle aggressive moves -- what plug companies are dubbing pre-attack posturing -- further retrieval instructions are beamed back to the angler’s headset. “OK, you might want to speed it up a bit, J-mann. Don’t get too jerky. You don’t want to screw it up the way you did last week? Just sayin’.” The guys making these plugs must have fun loading them with voice data.
Finally, there’s the climactic communique sent by the plug: “It’s attacking!!! Set the hook! What are you waiting for a frickin’ written invitation?!”
Final Review: From what I’ve seen, the prototype models of these artificial intelligence plugs have some minor drawbacks. Not only do they have a limited transmission range of only 40 yards or so, but I found the bulky headphones, like those being used by Yozuri and Cordell, become a bit burdensome after hours of fishing. Fortunately, the Bose Company is stepping up with lighter, more acoustically-accurate, AI Fishin’ Ear Buds, which can be worn comfortably for hours on end.
By the by, I hate the way the Bomber Company has added elevator music to their AI plugs, meant for those times when plugging gets slow. Gimme some Ozzie, dudes.
On the up side, there is the ongoing development of real-time cameras to work hand-in-hand with the plug’s “eye.” Already, a Vancouver firm is experimenting with an audio/video headset, worn fully over an angler’s ears and eyes, allow him to both hear the plug’s commands while also seeing an attacking gamefish – in 3D!
An added advantage to video: Once the plug is in a fish’s mouth, and the fight is on, the video image will clearly show if the hooks are coming loose. Now that’s an advantage, eh?
I plan on fishing my AI plug on the soon-to-be-released, hollow Sonic-Line, a hollow braided line which constantly broadcasts assorted fish-attracting sounds, like a “broke-back herring,” a big chunk of bunker wafting in the water, a surf clam being broken apart, a “weeping spearing” (I have no idea what that is), a pack of panicked mullet, and, if I have anything to say about it, some songs by The Cure. Unfortunately, Sonic-Line currently comes no thinner than 20-pound test.
Hey, I like to keep all y’all in the know. You can thank me later.
Stop New Jersey’s Fishing Grounds from Getting Blasted!!
A proposed Rutgers University Seismic Study
Will sweep the ocean
Just off Long Beach Island with blasts:
250 decibels (100,00 louder than a jet at take-off)
Every 5 seconds
24 hours a day
For 30 days
Studies show that fish can be injured or scared off by seismic blasts
STUDY AREA: AFFECTED FISHING GROUNDS:
The Lillian Wreck
28 Mile Wreck
Over 230 square miles of ocean will be directly impacted.
The LOUD blasts will travel far beyond study impact zone. Everyone from
Surf Casters to Back Bay Anglers to Offshore Fishermen will be impacted
YOU CAN HELP!!!
CONTACT RUTGERS PRESIDENT ROBERT BARCHI:
848-932-7454 and email the President today
TELL HIM TO STOP THIS SUMMER’S STUDY!!!
For more information: CleanOceanAction.org
The House of Representatives will be taking a vote on HR-1335, the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act” to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Enviros and elite 'catch and release' types are pressing members to vote in opposition, but the legislation has the support of the CCA, CCC, ASA, NMMA, RFA and many local fishing organizations I know (New York Sportfishing Federation and New York Fishing Tackle Trades Association). If you're not happy with black sea bass, fluke, cod, blueline tilefish or red snapper management, find your representative below, call them (the phone and the number belong to YOU!) and urge them to vote YES on HR-1335. Participate, it's pretty easy!
10 OF THE WORLD’S SHARKIEST SPOTS (THAT YOU CAN’T HELP BUT SURF)
Words by Morgan Williamson
With coast comes crashing ocean, jagged cliffs, roads, surfers, seals and… sharks. With sharks come misunderstanding, innate fear, black eyes and a bite to be avoided. For us, it’s an out of sight, out of mind thing, thoughts of sharks don’t enter our cerebrum when the surf’s pumping and we’re on the conveyor belt, paddling like madmen, tongues slacked out the sides of our cheeks like labradors. It’s funny, sharks by some are seen as an irrational fear: “You’ve got a better chance of getting struck by lightning than being attacked by a shark,” we’ve heard and said. That is unless you were on the coast of Los Angeles last summer where a white shark was reeled into a group of long distance swimmers by a fisherman off the Manhattan Pier resulting in a hefty chomp early July, and by later July a few miles down the road, on the affluent coast of Marina Del Rey, lightning struck the beach leaving one dead and 13 injured… Hell, you can’t write reality. Surfing implements a junky mentality, and our types get hooked on the stoke and no 12-step program can get you off the stuff. The sharks can’t keep us out (with the exception of Brazil’s Recife where people straight-up don’t go in the water and bull sharks swarm empty lineups like an agitated hornet’s nest. So, with an ominous crescendo of clashing white piano keys in mind, here’s 10 of the world’s sharkiest waves that when on, all us pathetic addicts couldn’t help but paddle out…
1. St. Leu, Reunion Island
St. Leu fires, a world class left that the Rip Curl Search Event used to call home. Reunion Island was also home to chilling news earlier this month when a 12-foot tiger shark took the life of 13-year-old Eli Canestri. Jeremy Flores paid homage via Instagram: “ANOTHER shark attack in Reunion Island this morning. 13 years old Eli was one of our best up and coming surfers. Words can’t describe how sad and angry I am. So young! Heartbreaking news. RIP.” Reunion Island has tallied 16 attacks since 2011 with eight fatalities, and simply put, those numbers are staggering. In 2013 the French gov. placed a ban on surfing and swimming in these shark ridden waters and are currently running tests broadly tied into the Reunion Island Shark Risk Reduction Program, which has implemented nets, drum lines and shark spotters with hopes of lifting the ban by 2016.
2. Umdumbi, Transkei, South Africa
South Africa’s wild coast is home to some world class waves. Some of the breaks are netted against sharks, and some aren’t (as is Umdumbi’s case). The waves pump in the area, John John Florence spent some time there while filming for his movie. The Transkei coast is no stranger to shark attacks with eight fatal attacks within the last six years. South Africa’s sharky, but you already knew that.
Namibia, the golden Skeleton. At this point, worth it. Photo: Alan Van Gysen
3. Skeleton Bay, Namibia
We’ve seen what Skeleton Bay does, we remember that wave Corey Lopez rode over a decade ago (and Koa Smith’s more recently), those reeling pale green lefthand zoomers that cull all nonsense and set the brain to froth overload. Those GoPro fantasy shacks, going and going like the Energizer Bunny. Africa’s desolate coast of Namibia is cold, great white infested but those barrels are oh, so inviting; inviting enough to forget the sharks, take the beatings, fight the current and try to pump that little rubber body of yours out the other side. There’s been no recorded attacks there yet, but ask anyone who’s surfer there and they’ll tell you: The vibe is there.
4. Lefties, West OZ
One recorded shark attack at lefties in 2005 and another at neighbouring break Umbies in 2013. Lefties is one of the more reliable breaks on the Margaret River-Yallingup stretch of beach. West Oz is no foreigner to shark attacks, with a slew of attacks in the Margaret River area over the past ten years with 11 proving fatal. It’s no secret that West Oz has more than a few rows of jagged teeth swimming below.
Oh, J-Bay. You dirty little bitch. WSL/Kirstin
5. J-Bay, South Africa
We know South Africa has grey suits, a lot of them. It’s a hub for research on the animals for just that reason. It’s also home to one of the most famous and timeless right point breaks. It’s all been said about Jeffrey’s Bay so I don’t need to waste your time. I don’t need to tell you it fires, world class, there’s whites and the last attack at J-Bay was fatal in 2013, I’ve said too much.
6. Honolua Bay, Maui
The best wave Maui has to offer when it’s on, maybe even the world when it’s has that right swell. An endless right point that you surf with an endless amount of your closest friends that’s prone to beach closures due to shark sightings. The surrounding beaches see yearly attacks by tiger sharks, although the last attack at Honolua Bay was in 2003. Sun plus trunks plus carve-horny open faces outweigh any potential for unwanted chompers.
Moss Landing. Photo: Magic Seaweed
7. Moss Landing, Monterey Bay
Moss Landing is the central coast’s Blacks, it gets big, perfect and resides at the southern tip of the Red Triangle, a beautiful hazy stretch of the Central/Northern California coast where the grey suits add an aura of fear to the cold wind, water and swell that can go from four feet to double overhead plus throughout the course of a day. Monterey Bay completes the triangle whose colloquial name is a direct reflection of the large population of elephant seals, harbor seals, sea otters and sea lions, and of course, great whites who serve as grateful patrons to the marine mammal buffet. In lay-man’s terms; it’s sharky.
8. Ponta Do Ouro, Mozambique
Another African righthand point. Ponta Do Ouro on the right conditions rivals that of Jeffrey’s bay, and like Hall and Oates’ greatest hits albums and J-bay you’ll find man eaters. Whites and tiger sharks have been known to take a bite out of Mozambique tourists, but hell, peeling right point breaks > the off chance of getting bitten.
9. Sebastian Inlet, Florida (above, not really Sebastian, but a good idea of the sharks in Florida)
Florida is the shark attack capital of the world. Eight different species of sharks call the Floridian waters home. Sebastian harboured such legends as Lopez and the Hobgood brothers and that Kelly Slater guy. Earlier this month a bobcat was photographed fishing a five foot shark out of Sebastian Inlet’s waters, which was cool. In 2013 there were two consecutive attacks within 48 hours at the inlet. The break’s been called the capital of east coast surfing, it showcases Floridian talent and despite the frequent sightings and yearly attacks, the crowds continue to flock to the spot like, dare I say… the salmon of Capistrano.
Welcome to San Fran! Don’t be a seal! Photo: Johnny Jungle
10. Ocean Beach, San Francisco
Ocean Beach handles its swell the way high functioning alcoholics handle their morning libations. Fall heading into winter, the break houses picture-perfect double to triple overhead A-Frame howlers that’ll put you in your place on the outskirts of the city of love. It’s not uncommon to stroll by an unsightly nudist or two (they’re never sightly) on your way back to your car, bus or Muni Line while you try and regain use of your fingers and wonder how the fuck they’re not freezing? San Francisco is smackbang in the Red Triangle. Twenty-eight miles offshore are the Farallon Islands, the triangle’s apex, where you can rent a dive suit, jump in an iron cage and pay a pretty penny to see some great white sharks do great white shark things.