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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

5/18/14 .....  I had calls about the bunker die-off just to our north. It was big and, at first, unexplainable. Early guesses included algal poisoning -- or lowered dissolve oxygen from algal blooms.…

5/18/14 ..... 

I had calls about the bunker die-off just to our north. It was big and, at first, unexplainable. Early guesses included algal poisoning -- or lowered dissolve oxygen from algal blooms. That didn’t work for me; too early in the algae season. Plus, I knew better – from my years as a keeper of saltwater fish tanks. It was a clear case of hypoxia, i.e. death by suffocation. In fact, suffocation die-offs are fairly common menhaden phenomena, dating back to days of yore. There are scores of archival accounts of menhaden suddenly going belly-up – sometimes by the millions.

But why, in this case?

In spring, bunker in massive numbers – made a bit more massive with some of the conservation measures now in place -- flee in something akin to blind terror, chased by a perennial spring onslaught of utterly voracious predators, mainly bluefish, stripers and weakfish. Through a sometimes lengthy stalking process, predators chase -- or purposely herd – bunker into shallower and shallower water, where the forage fish become so compacted they can’t find adequate oxygen.  

The key word here is adequate oxygen. Metabolically high-demand bunker, when jammed into what we call balls, can quickly deplete the dissolved oxygen within even highly-oxygenated water. Most often, this occurs nearshore, within rivers or lagoons.

I have this unorthodox belief that nature takes something like pity on fish that are pretty much alive to be eaten by other creatures. It allows the likes of bunker to give up the ghost very quickly. In practical terms, it doesn’t take much to kill a bunker -- though they have great life tenacity as a biomass. 

Photo: Dead Bunker in Sharker River NJ from Low Oxygen Levels... Have you ever seen this where you fish?

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Made it out for my first trip of the season today.  Started out chasing weakies in their spring time haunts to no available.  The recent heavy rains may have turned off the bite due to the influx of a lot of fresh water into the bay.  Switching over to bluefish we were not disappointed, which is an understatement.   Blues from 2 to 8 pounds were eager to smash topwater plugs in the shallows.  Three feet of water, light tackle and an 8 pound blue is about as topnotch action as you can get.  In those shallow flats blues have no were to run but out!  Attached is a picture of Dave Werner of Manahawkin with one of the blues he landed.  Fluke season opens the Friday the 23th.  With fluke no coming into the mix the backbay action is only going to get better with a backbay Grand Slam (striper, blue, weakfish, and fluke) now within reach.  I am going to grab it, how about you?  Still have a few weekend dates available this month and as always available for afternoon / evening trips.

 

Capt. Alex

www.LighthouseSportfishing.com

Barnegat Bay, NJ

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Tony throwing bunker & getting blues, decided to change it up, threw out a clam & the result was this 19.12 still kicking bass. Moves into 1st in the store tournament & pushes George to 2nd.

Tony throwing bunker & getting blues, decided to change it up, threw out a clam & the result was this 19.12 still kicking bass. Moves into 1st in the store tournament & pushes George to 2nd.

John Cafiero added 4 new photos.

Big Bass today!!!! Time to book your trip today before it's too late!!www.SeafoodFishing.com

John Cafiero's photo.
John Cafiero's photo.
John Cafiero's photo.
John Cafiero's photo.
Bill's Surf and Tackle added 2 new photos.

Jason Marti caught this fish today in front of Island Beach State Park. The fish weighed in at 35 pounds. Jay Zimmerman and Dennis had some other big bass that they were cutting up. This fish might be a contender in the "On the Water" magazine tournament. Awesome fish Jason.

Bill's Surf and Tackle's photo.
Bill's Surf and Tackle's photo.

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Capt. Dave DeGennaro 
Hi Flier Sportfishing 
732.330.5674 
www.hiflier.com

It's on!  That's the report.  If you're reading this,  you need to react. We all caught them today. This morning we hooked four and boated none. All on bunker spoons. Sounds awful I know,  it was,  but I was able to convince,  OK,  beg my afternoon trip to go out and try instead of our planned bay trip. We bagged a 25 , 30, and 35 pounder in just two hours of trolling and all was right with the world again.  We decked the biggest one and ran back to the bay to crush 3 to 4 pound blues on topwaters and 10 pound spinning gear. Outside all the action was 5 to 7 miles north of the inlet in 60 feet of water pulling white and chartreuse Maja spoons. I have one spot left on tomorrow's (Mon) open boat, 6am to noon and now with the wide open afternoon bite for two days in a row, I am adding an afternoon trip 1pm to 7pm tomorrow (Mon), Wed,  and Thurs. $150 per person,  3 people max. Wind and sea conditions look good for the whole stretch. If you want to catch 25 to 40 plus pound stripers. ...go now! 

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Great way to start the season!
35lbs.

Great way to start the season! 35lbs.

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Brett Taylor added 2 new photos.

Had a chance to fish with Dad today - we had to work hard, but managed one nice bass. Tale of the tape - 44 inches - 35lbs. Great day on the water. Next two weekends are booked with charters.

Brett Taylor's photo.
Brett Taylor's photo.

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AJ Rotondella added a new photo.
AJ Rotondella's photo.
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John Cafiero added 4 new photos.

Catching bluefish tonight!!!

John Cafiero's photo.
John Cafiero's photo.
John Cafiero's photo.
John Cafiero's photo.
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Bizarre Ton

First Fluke of the year!

First Fluke of the year!

gue-Eating Parasite Discovered Off the Jersey Coast

Science / Natural Sciences
September 9, 2009


Ceratothoa imbricata, the South African relative of the parasite discovered off the Jersey Shore. Photo Credit: Dr. Nico Smit

There's been a spate of amazing animal discoveries recently--the giant rat-eating plants found in the Philippines, a huge woolly rat discovered in a volcanic crater--and now, yet another animal has emerged that could be right out of a sci-fi film. It's a bizarre creature that survives by eating its hosts' tongue and then attaching itself inside the mouth.The sea-dwelling parasite attacks fish, burrows into it, and then devours its tongue. After eating the tongue, the parasite proceeds to live inside the fish's mouth. There's a horror film waiting to be made about this thing. Surprisingly, the fish doesn't seem to suffer any severe impediment--just the loss of its tongue. And it seems to have no trouble surviving with its new, far uglier tongue.

While the isopod, a kind of louse, has been known to exist for a while now, discoveries of live specimens are rare. The BBC reports that "Fishermen near the Minquiers - islands under the jurisdiction of Jersey - found the isopod, a type of louse, inside a weaver fish." So no, the tongue-eater wasn't found in that Jersey. The Jersey Shore is still tongue replacing creature-free, if you stateside Northeasterners were worried about the thing ruining your late summer vacationing.

Now, the picture above is a relative of the one discovered off the Jersey shore -- the one causing the ruckus, Cymothoa exigua, looks like this:


Image Credit: NOAA

Not that you'd have to be too concerned anyways--the isopod isn't a threat to humans in the slightest, though it's reportedly vicious, and can deliver quite a little bite. One of the fishermen who found the creature described it thus: "Really quite large, really quite hideous - if you turn it over its got dozens of these really sharp, nasty claws underneath and I thought 'that's a bit of a nasty beast'." And while it can't seriously hurt people, it evidently doesn't like them: "It doesn't affect humans other than if you do actually come across a live one and try and pick it up - they are quite vicious, they will deliver a good nip."

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