Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Tuesday, October 01, 2013: Those stinkin’ honkin’ northeast winds have finally breathed their last gasp, having done a goodly amount of beachfront sand damage in many areas, not just Holgate.
Since the front beaches are now open to buggying (HC, SC, SB, LBT and BH), we have to keep a close watch over all the Island’s beachlines. I’ll be reconnoitering but please let me know if you see erosional problem, even if you’re a walk-on angler – pulling along one of those cool, hand-drawn, rod-holder thingamajigs with wheels. I think they’re great; might make a prefect early Christmas present for that special walk-on angler in your life.
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Now that the NEs are done, look for some hard westerlies, which is just what the surfcasting doctor ordered. It will not only smooth out the surf (leaving some nice waves to roil the water just enough) but it will also get any forage fish migrations closer to the beachline, always an aid to surfcasting success.
The hard west winds are not the best thing for boat fishermen, who will now have to contend with cantankerous winds from another direction. Not that I’m an expert but I hate west winds for going out to sea, even a short distance. The word snotty was created for west winds after you even get half a mile out from the beach. I see the west wind thing calming down by Thursday p.m.
Smalls bluefish are out and about. A few bass are lurking. Surf fishing, as a whole, has sorta sucked. I can assure one and all that will soon change.
A couple more red drum have shown. Oddly, they are going for just about everything. I kid you not. I even heard of one going for a speck of bloodworm on a rig meant for kingfish, which have seemingly moved on except for some stragglers. The Ava jig thing worked again for a buddy of mine (his second redfish), as did a teaser ahead of a popper for a fellow landing a ten-pounder (released). I haven’t heard of puppy drum on a popper just yet.
Important epicurean note: Small redfish are highly edible; I’m talking the talk of the walk in places like New Orleans. They are the veritable source of the white-hot, fish-cooking technique called “blackening.”
Give it a try.
Use a store-bought blackening mix (Chef Paul Prud, Chef Hans, Zatarain).
Always use an iron skillet, or, in a crunch, stainless steel. NEVER (!) use a no-stick skillet of any variety.
Heat the skillet until the smoke detectors go off. Hell, they’re gonna really go off in a minute anyway.
Suggestion: Open all kitchen windows, crank up all vent fans and even put a large portable fan in the doorway to the outside.
Butter up the room-temperature redfish fillets with finger-squished room-temperature butter. Don’t go over thick with the butter, as some chefs suggest.
Now, spice the buttered filets one good. Pouring the spice on is the best bet, over using a seasoning bag. Louisianans say you can’t put on too much blackening spice. Of course, they’re also selling the stuff.
Important: Season both sides of the filets, unless you just can’t take the heat, in that case, go heavy on one side and much lighter on the other side.
Once the high-heat skillet is white hot (iron) or flash hot (stainless), it’s time to “drop” the filets. Time it so all the filets hit the metal in short order. Do not overfill the pan. If cooking for a crew, use a bunch of skillets – not the same skillet over and over.
The instant the filets hit the metal, the cooking – and smoke – super-commence. It’s all good – until the fire department stops by, and wouldn’t mind a few blackened filets since they’re already there.
If you went heavy on the butter, the smoke is greatly reduced and might even cool the pan. Some chefs like that. Dumbasses. You want the taste of spices that are suddenly charred into sheer blackness. In fact, no blackness, no blackened seafood.
The only blackening controversy I sometimes foster is my occasional use of a lid. This method really infuses the filets with a grilled flavor, a tad above the blackened flavor. They’re both incredible. The lid method also keeps the smoke detectors from going off – as quickly.
Cook roughly two minutes on both sides. Admittedly, it’s very tough to judge doneness when blackening thick filets. I say you just break one open and check, after all, you’re not charging $25 a plate.
Big Tip: Serve the spiciest blackened fish with a side dish of sherbet. I like orange. It’s said to clean the palette, though it’s most often used to cool the tongue after experiencing the insanely spicy-good taste of the fish.
CLASSIC COMETH: We're moving in, ultrafast, to LBI Surf Fishing Classic time, an eight-week stretch of friendly angling aggression during which hundreds of avid anglers fish for Island hooking honors -- and a slew of prizes, including healthy doses of good old dinero.
To help the reach-the-beach fishing cause, virtually all of LBI’s traffic signals will be switched to a blinking cycles for Monday’s Classic start. This signal change is done to show sheer respect for the event. OK, so maybe the change in the traffic signals (for winter) has nothing to do with the Classic but getting from one potential fishing beach to another sure comes a lot easier with the Boulevard on the blink – and speed limits increased.
Please note that unusual Monday start to the tourney. It allows anglers down for the Chowderfest (Sunday) to make a long weekend out of it by taking off Monday – or the entire week – to kick off the tourney.
I’ve been emphasizing the Classic’s special money prizes, being offered in the name of the late Frank Panzone. There will be a single-day prize of $1,000 on Oct. 16 and another of $500 on Nov. 16. However, the Classic’s prize schedule is torrid above and beyond those two big-bass bonuses. The list of prizes can be found in the brochure you get with the sign-up.
A website is being finalized and you can also check in at https://www.facebook.com/LBISurfFishingClassic. Make sure to “friend” the event.
I’d like to make an appropriate appeal to all past Derby/Classic participants: We need all ya’ll to climb aboard this year. The event is fighting off the lingering Sandy effect, which cut the Classic short last year. Also, the Classic’s enhanced committee is trying to gracefully handle the ongoing transfer of tourney responsibilities, from the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce to an eelgrass-roots group, comprised of shops, clubs and avid angling individuals.
New findings on methyl mercury in fish ...
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [ENP Newswire] - October 1, 2013 -
New research from the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol suggests that fish accounts for only seven per cent of mercury levels in the human body.
In an analysis of 103 food and drink items consumed by 4,484 women during pregnancy, researchers found that the 103 items together accounted for less than 17 per cent of total mercury levels in the body.
Concerns about the negative effects of mercury on fetal development have led to official advice warning against eating too much fish during pregnancy. This new finding, published today in Environmental Health Perspectives, suggests that those guidelines may need to be reviewed.
Previous research by Children of the 90s has shown that eating fish during pregnancy has a positive effect on the IQ and eyesight of the developing child, when tested later in life. Exactly what causes this is not proven, but fish contains many beneficial components including iodine and omega-3 fatty acids.
After fish (white fish and oily fish) the foodstuffs associated with the highest mercury blood levels were herbal teas and alcohol, with wine having higher levels than beer. The herbal teas were an unexpected finding and possibly due to the fact that herbal teas can be contaminated with toxins.
Another surprise finding was that the women with the highest mercury levels tended to be older, have attended university, to be in professional or managerial jobs, to own their own home, and to be expecting their first child. Overall, however, fewer than one per cent of women had mercury levels higher than the maximum level recommended by the US National Research Council. There is no official safe level in the UK.
The authors conclude that advice to pregnant women to limit seafood intake is unlikely to reduce mercury levels substantially.
Speaking about the findings, the report’s main author, Professor Jean Golding OBE, said: ‘We were pleasantly surprised to find that fish contributes such a small amount (only seven per cent) to blood mercury levels. We have previously found that eating fish during pregnancy has many health benefits for both mother and child. We hope many more women will now consider eating more fish during pregnancy. It is important to stress, however, that pregnant women need a mixed balanced diet. They should include fish with other dietary components that are beneficial including fruit and vegetables.’
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|Oceanographic gliders surveying Atlantic coastal waters from Nova Scotia to Georgia|
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [Philadelphia Inquirer] By Sandy Bauers - October 1, 2013 -
At this very moment, in 15 spots off the East Coast from Nova Scotia to Georgia, robots are surfing the depths of the ocean, taking its pulse.
The robots - commonly referred to as "gliders" because of the way they move through the water - are measuring all sorts of things, including temperature and salinity. They're assessing the phytoplankton at the base of the food web, and tracking when and how fish move.
In short, they're getting a detailed look at how the ocean works.
Scientists say the project, which involves 11 institutions and even more funders, is the most concerted effort of its kind to understand the marine environment.
They've dubbed it Gliderpalooza.
"I've been an oceanographer for a long time. The fact that we have come so far with the technology, that we can send this fleet of gliders out there and measure the ocean in three dimensions like we have never been able to do before, that wows me," said Zdenka Willis, director of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System.
Many in the general public don't realize how much scientists don't know about the oceans.
"The ocean is pretty tricky to predict, partly because it's so difficult to observe," said Josh Kohut, a Rutgers University assistant professor involved in the project.
Satellites can monitor its surface, but can't see underneath. Buoys can see underneath, but can't move. Vessels can move, but they're expensive, and the weather can be a danger.
Rutgers University has pioneered the use of gliders, which have no independent propulsion. They use battery power to shift weight, aiming the glider upward or downward. Water passing over winglike structures on the sides causes the forward motion.
In recent years, the Rutgers Coastal Ocean Observation Lab - RU COOL is its jaunty moniker - has put the devices to the test in the Antarctic and in East Coast storms. One was successfully sent across the Atlantic.
This time, "the power is in the coordinated deployment," Kohut said. Call it a kind of scientific crowdsourcing. While one glider gets just a series of snapshots, the wealth of data from 15 gliders can all but paint a mural.
Each surfaces about every two hours to get instructions and send back reams of data.
It's all happening at a significant time, the scientists say. These are the "transition months" of September and October, when fish migrate, storms arise, and the ocean changes from the stratified layers of summer to the more mixed stew of winter.
"This international collaboration . . . to cover a huge block of the continental shelf at a critical time of year has never been done," said Fred Whoriskey, executive director of the Ocean Tracking Network at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, a partner.
Scientists have attached acoustic "tags" to 45 species - more than a thousand individuals, including bluefin tuna, great white sharks, salmon, cod, sturgeon, and seals.
The university monitors a line of acoustic telemetry equipment from Halifax to a major feeding ground for right whales 125 miles offshore - the longest such line in the world, Whoriskey said.
If a tagged fish moves, the equipment senses it and reports back.
Now, gliders to the south can pick up where the line leaves off. They can log other factors to see if anything correlates to a change in migration patterns.
Scientists at Rutgers are hoping to plumb the secrets of what's called the Cold Pool, a deep blob of water about 40 miles wide and at least 20 to 30 miles offshore, stretching from Nantucket to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay.
It has a big influence and many unknowns. Moving closer to shore last summer, it was responsible for some cold water along the beaches during July. Some fish seek it out; others avoid it. Evidence shows it's been getting warmer since the 1990s.
Climate change is one reason this work is so important now, scientists say. They want to establish a baseline so that they can better assess any changes.
Scientifically, at least, it would be a boon if a large storm should move up the coast while the gliders are in use. If any could be maneuvered into the path of the storm, scientists could learn much about the dynamics at work.
One of the benefits of the project is that scientists - and even the general public - anywhere can watch the action unfold.