Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Monday, September 29, 2014: What a nice little day it has become, now that the cloudiness has burnt off.
I’m lookin’ at the weather computers and damn if we’re not going to see a repeat of the east and northeast wind thing. Watch for gustiness by tomorrow night and hanging in until Friday. It won’t nearly be a blowy as last week, but there could be bouts of 30-knot northeast winds sprinkled in. It’s really going to put another hurting on tourist-free weekday surfcasting and boat fishing.
Of course, I have the south end cure for north winds. The thing is I like seeing loads of folks getting into fall fishing and there really aren’t that many anglers who frequent Holgate. The only hope is we’ll start to see stripers in the churned up front beaches from BL to BH. I’m guessing large chunk baits could find any better bass sniffing around.
The deeply down side is the way these winds will hold in now unseasonable ocean water temps. In fact, I’ll bet it hangs near 70 degrees this whole week. That definitely doesn’t allow star stripers to fly freely.
More info later today: After fishing ...
Hell, you can barely tell anything is wrong with my rear P-side window
I should have added this earlier. Folks have begun asking me about the really fine seminar we hold in association with the LBI Surf Fishing Classic.
"SUPER SURF CASTING SEMINAR” - It is free!
Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 9 AM to 1 PM
LBI Surf Fishing Seminar RSVP - Call the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce at 609-494-7211.
Want to learn more about the basics and finer point of surf fishing? Meet 9:00 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce on 9th Street in Ship Bottom for door prizes, coffee and bagels. Then at about 9:45 am we move over to the Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Co. No.1 Station on 21st Street and Central Ave in Ship Bottom for the Surf Fishing Seminar. There Team Mullet, a long time local fishing club, will share their knowledge. Topics such as surf fishing equipment, surf casting techniques, bait, rigs, knots and driving a 4x4 vehicle on the beach will be presented as well as much more. Then (weather and beach conditions permitting) the seminar will move to the 9th Street Beach in Ship Bottom for hands-on instruction. You may want to bring a folding chair for your comfort on the beach.
There’s a prize drawing at the end of the Fire House segment of the seminar. You must be present to win.
Pre-registration is required for this free seminar. To register call the Chamber of Commerce, 609 494-7211 or 800 292-6372.
Neighborhood Watch. Warren Grove;NJ. On Friday night;September 26th; Thieves stole my fathers John Deere riding lawnmower out of our barn. Mower is yellow. 20hp. Thieves cut the chain that secured mower. There was no key in the ignition. My father is 82 years old and partially handicapped. Any information or tips concerning this heartless criminal act would be appreciated! Thank You!
Harrison's 1st offshore trip, and his 1st False Albacore.... perfect conditions... great day thanks to uncle Justin!!!!
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This is interesting on both the striper and sturgeon fronts:
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Washington Post] By Darryl Fears - September 29, 2014 -
The fishermen on Marshyhope Creek knew they weren't losing their minds.
For years, they told the Maryland Department of Natural Resources that they had spotted sturgeon, fish so rare it was thought the species was nearly extinct. But biologists who rushed to the creek near Federalsburg on the Eastern Shore came up with nothing when they tossed out a gill net.
Then suddenly, a five-foot-long sturgeon leaped into Bill Harris's fishing boat in April of last year, according to the Bay Journal. And finally this month, when biologists Chuck Stence and his colleagues from DNR returned, they caught eight sturgeon.
That modest haul of sturgeon was a positive end to a summer of good, bad and ugly developments in the Chesapeake Bay. Any landing of sturgeon, which haven't been caught by fishermen in the watershed since the early 1970s, is a good thing. But a troubling drop in the abundance of spawning female striped bass, Maryland's state fish, is bad. And for ugly, there's the recent discovery in Virginia of a killer plant that was thought to have been eradicated from the Potomac River and the presence of one of the bay's worst fish-killing "dead zones" on record.
It is a sign of troubling times in America's largest estuary, even in the midst of an aggressive anti-pollution effort that is in its fourth year. The bay is beset by man-made waste and overfishing. And it is laced with diseases that take the lives of countless oysters and striped bass and with chemicals that are changing the sex of male smallmouth bass.
But the sturgeon is a sign that the bay can recover. And even though the numbers of striped bass are down, they're not at the historic lows of the mid-1980s, when several states were forced to halt fishing to help them recover.
On a positive note, Stence said, more sturgeon than anyone realized might have been in the creek all along, even though none was caught. "I think a lot of it had to do with the nets and the size of the nets we were using," Stence said, explaining that previous nets were too weak. "They're a big, strong fish, and they can just bull their way through."
Last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries service listed four varieties of Atlantic sturgeon populations as endangered - the New York Bight, Carolina, South Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay.
Worried that sturgeon were gone for good, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin backed a plan to use 60 domesticated Atlantic sturgeon, mostly from New York's Hudson River, to restock the Potomac.
But a federal endangered listing works to preserve the genetic purity of the animal it seeks to protect, meaning that tame Hudson River sturgeon being bred at a Maryland hatchery couldn't be released by state officials to possibly mess around with wild Potomac River sturgeon.
None of that will matter if sturgeon from other areas mate in Chesapeake tributaries, including the Potomac. "They're migrating fish," Stence said. "It's amazing how far they can travel."
State scientists are testing the captured fish to see if their DNA matches that of 3,000 sturgeon from various rivers biologists released 18 years ago. They fitted the fish with radio tags before release to trace their migration in the Atlantic and back to rivers.
There are far more striped bass, also known as rockfish, than sturgeon, but still there aren't enough. Stripers, as they're also called, are Maryland's state fish, as symbolic as the iconic blue crab.
The number of females of spawning age has fallen and is close to a threshold where the species is considered "not recovered." And the reason for that, said Tom O'Connell, the director of the Fisheries Service at Maryland's Department of Natural Resources, is cause for concern.
Fishery experts have noticed that the stock falls during winters with little rain or snow. Little striped bass eat plankton, which feed on nutrients that run off wetlands in precipitation. Baby fish can't become big fish when they starve.
On top of that, big rockfish eat menhaden, a species that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission said was in danger of depletion when it greatly limited the menhaden catch in 2012.
Finally, many rockfish are stricken with a disease that attacks their internal organs.
In other words, they are being hit from all sides.
"Looking at the Chesapeake Bay specifically, striped bass prefer menhaden, which is really low," O'Connell said. So they start eating crabs, "but they're not as nutritious as menhaden," he said. "Striped bass are more susceptible to get diseased when they're distressed, and that's happening."
But, O'Connell said, commercial watermen and recreational fishermen who are afraid the population is about to crater are overlooking important factors. The number of female rockfish in the bay today is about the same as the population in 1995, when officials declared that the species was back from being nearly wiped out a decade earlier. The lady fish are capable of incredible things - including producing tons of juveniles, O'Connell said.
Biologists following trends offered a projection: The population might drop "for maybe two years, but the trajectory starts to go up again because of expected better production - not as good as managers want, but up," he said.
The one thing the bay's managers want to completely die off is the invasive water chestnut. It shoots up from the river bottom, flowers in a way that blocks sunlight from native plants, and dies, forming muck that contributes to oxygen-depleted dead zones.
A small water chestnut patch was spotted on the Potomac in July at Pohick Bay Regional Park in Virginia. "It was kind of alarming, considering what was needed to eradicate the plant in the 1940s and '50s," said Curtis Dalpra, a spokesman for the interstate commission.
Water chestnut plants "can spread from few square feet to hundreds in weeks," Dalpra said, and seeds are viable for a dozen years. The Army Corps of Engineers spent months eradicating it at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.
Virginia game officials and the U.S. Geological Survey are studying the problem and considering an option as simple as the lyrics of a Bob Marley song: "Every time I plant a seed, he say kill it before it grow."
Photo Credit: NOAA
This op-ed piece has a striper tilt to it ...
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Press-Herald] By Lisa Kerr and Graham Sherwood - September 29, 2014 -
Recovering Maine's cod stock from its current all-time low will entail building a stock that is much more resilient to adverse conditions.
There is fresh news out of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regarding the status of Gulf of Maine cod, and the outlook isn't good. Atlantic cod, the mainstay of New England fisheries for more than 400 years, is now at 3 to 4 percent of its target levels.
On the heels of a dramatic 78 percent reduction in fishing quotas that went into effect in 2013, it is likely that further, even more severe, fishing restrictions will be needed to revive this iconic stock.
Cod landings and biomass in the Gulf of Maine have fluctuated dramatically for as long as we have records. Some of this is because of environmental conditions, and some is because of past fishery management decisions that led to decades of overfishing.
Today, despite a wealth of survey data, a sophisticated process to estimate the number of fish and determine catch levels and a fishery that now operates well within these limits, we find ourselves with a cod stock that remains drastically overfished and unresponsive to our best rebuilding efforts.
This story may sound familiar. In 1992, the Canadian government called for a moratorium on cod fishing in Newfoundland in response to a similar decline in their stocks. The expectation was that cod would respond promptly to this strictest of measures and that fishermen would be back to work within a few years.
Two decades later, Newfoundland cod biomass still remains at relatively low levels. We now know that all cod are not created equal, a fact that becomes all too apparent when populations are low.
One important attribute that distinguishes one cod from another is age. Ideally, cod in the North Atlantic should live about 20 years, but it is now rare to find cod older than 5 to 6 years. These younger, smaller female cod spawn fewer and poorer-quality eggs than their older, larger counterparts.
They also typically only spawn once per spawning season, if at all. Older cod tend to spawn in several batches throughout the spawning season. This batch spawning is like diversifying an investment portfolio; there is a good chance that at least one will encounter the conditions it needs for success.
It is also now recognized that the Gulf of Maine cod stock was once comprised of a great diversity of spawning groups that utilized different spawning grounds during different seasons. This is no longer the case, and most spawning is confined to the western Gulf of Maine.
All this is to say that cod have evolved to hedge their bets when dealing with variable ocean conditions in the Gulf of Maine, and we now find ourselves in a situation with all our eggs in one basket. The fish are young and getting younger; spawning locations are few and getting fewer; and spawning behavior is increasingly uniform. This erosion of diversity within the cod stock presents a challenging starting point for the recovery of cod from their current all-time low.
So where do we go from here? There will undoubtedly be reductions in cod quotas over the coming months in response to the latest interim assessment. However, in order for cod to recover, managers must focus on rebuilding attributes of the stock that have been severely reduced.
Great work has been done in Massachusetts state waters to protect known spawning locations by closing these important areas during the spawning season. This work should be continued and expanded.
We have also found more old, large cod inside the few regions in the Gulf of Maine that restrict fishing. These closed areas, which were established in the 1990s to reduce groundfish mortality, may be our best tool for protecting older, larger females, and current plans to alter their boundaries should be considered very carefully in light of the current cod situation.
Finally, it may be that warming ocean conditions will make it harder and harder for cod - a sub-Arctic species at the southern end of its range - to exist in the Gulf of Maine. Efforts to protect diversity within the stock should help buffer cod against highly variable climate and ocean conditions, which are likely to intensify in the future.
In doing so, we may help to build a stock that is much more resilient to adverse conditions, making the road to recovery a little shorter.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Press-Herald] By Patrick Whittle - September 29, 2014 -
They say the little sharks are abundant in New England waters, but fishermen have had little success finding a market for them.
The stability of the dogfish population off the coast of New England is not in jeopardy despite a recent survey that found less of the fish off Maine and New Hampshire than in previous years.
The little sharks, which range from Labrador to Florida and are most abundant from Nova Scotia to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, are still abundant in New England’s waters, according to scientists and fishermen.
Dogfish made up only a third of a percent of Maine’s fall 2013 trawl survey of species off Maine and New Hampshire – down from a high of nearly 42 percent in 2004.
Federal regulators say the fishes are actually growing in abundance. James Armstrong, who manages the species for the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, said they are estimated to exceed their target level by 33 percent. And James Sulikowski, a biologist with the University of New England who studies the species, said there are about 230,000 metric tons of spawning dogfish in the Gulf of Maine, a nearly fivefold increase from 10 years ago.
“The guys are seeing a lot of dogfish out there,” said Bert Jongerden, general manager of the Portland Fish Exchange. “There’s no problem.”
The Maine Department of Marine Resources performs the twice-annual trawl survey as one way of collecting data about fish species abundance. Dogfish migrate over wide distances and their small percentage of the trawl survey only means they weren’t present in the coastal areas of Maine and New Hampshire where the survey took place, said Jeff Nichols, a spokesman for the department.
The dogfish migrate because of factors such as temperature and availability of prey, Nichols said. The trawl survey uses a “random sampling scheme” and doesn’t target any particular species, he said.
Dogfish are fished commercially for food, and there is a small demand for them from scientific and biomedical industries, Nichols said.
Although New England restaurants have used dogfish in everything from marinated skewers, a la chicken teriyaki, to fish and chips, fishermen have had little success finding a broader market for them as a cheap source of protein. Efforts to market dogfish are hindered by a lack of dogfish processors in Maine, said Jongerden, who added there were a half dozen such processors in Portland in the 1990s before strict quotas were imposed.
“The guys can’t justify fishing them and handling them and icing them for the price levels,” Jongerden said.
Maine fishermen caught a little more than 100,000 pounds of dogfish in 2013 at a total value of $17,945 – barely a tenth the price per pound of haddock, and less than 7 percent of the price per pound of cod. The total value of the cod catch was $736,154, while for haddock it was $211,279.
Photo Credit: Sea2Table
Oh, no. I just get me GoPro3 tuned perfectly and they come out with this.