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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday, April 14, 2016: Things have taken a turn toward springiness.

OK, kid. There's just not enough food for the two of us in this house." 

Below: Talk about good hands. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016: Things have taken a turn toward springiness. It looks good clear through the upcoming weekend. This is the best chance for many folks to get out and wet lines … of simply blow the condensation out of motors.  

In fact, it looks good perhaps a tad too far into the future. Spring shines best with regular watering. That ain’t coming. But let me sweat the lack of wet, you can enjoy the open stretch of stripering – and even blackfishing – weather.

(A four fish possession limit from April 1–April 30, a closed season from May 1–July 16, a one fish possession limit from July 17–Nov. 15 and a six fish possession limit from Nov. 16–Dec. 31.)

For those who haven’t pondering stripers all winter, the 2016 regulations read: “The recreational striped bass size limit has changed to one fish at 28 inches to less than 43 inches and one fish at greater than or equal to 43 inches. The Striped Bass Bonus Program has been modified to one fish at 24 inches to less than 28 inches with a season of September 1 to December 31.”

I’m not trying to rub it in, nor do I think you don’t get those regs, but I’ll simplify them by saying you can still keep that one sweet-eating striper of 28 inches or larger but you need a damn-decent cow to take home a second striper. See the http://www.stripers247.com/ chart below.

Striped Bass Length to Weight Chart

Striped bass length to weight chart fish

 

Length to weigh to age chart for stripers

Length
Age
Weight Maximum(lbs)
Average
Minimum
Length
Age
Weight Maximum (lbs)
Average
Minimum
12"
1
1.0
1.0
1.0
   
34"
9
19.0
16.5
14.0
13"
1
2.0
1.5
1.0
   
35"
10
20.5
18.0
15.5
14"
2
2.5
2.3
2.0
   
36"
10
22.0
19.5
16.8
15"
2
3.0
2.5
2.0
   
37"
11
23.5
20.7
17.5
16"
2
3.5
3.0
2.5
   
38"
12
25.5
22.0
19.0
17"
3
4.0
3.5
2.8
   
39"
12
27.2
24.5
20.7
18"
3
4.5
4.0
3.0
   
40"
13
29.5
26.0
22.0
19"
3
5.0
4.3
3.5
   
41"
13
31.0
27.3
23.0
20"
3
5.5
4.8
4.0
   
42"
14
33.5
29.7
25.0
21"
4
6.0
5.0
4.3
   
43"
14
36.3
32.0
27.0
22"
4
6.8
5.8
4.8
   
44"
15
39.0
34.0
29.0
23"
4
7.5
6.3
5.0
   
45"
15
41.0
36.0
30.5
24"
5
8.3
7.0
6.0
   
46"
16
44.0
38.7
32.5
25"
5
8.8
7.8
6.3
   
47"
16
47.5
42.0
35.0
26"
6
10.0
8.5
7.0
   
48"
17
51.0
44.0
37.0
27"
6
11.0
9.8
8.0
   
49"
17
54.0
47.0
39.0
28"
6
12.0
10.3
8.8
   
50"
18
58.0
50.0
42.0
29"
7
12.9
11.0
9.7
   
51"
18
62.0
55.0
45.0
30"
7
14.0
12.3
10.3
   
52"
19
65.0
58.0
47.0
31"
8
15.0
13.0
11.0
   
53"
19
68.0
60.0
49.0
32"
8
16.7
14.5
12.0
   
54"
20
73.0
64.0
52.0
33"
9
17.8
15.8
13.0
   
55"
20
80.0
70.0
56.0

 

I’ve been told – by authorities -- that even this early in the season there is some confusion – or simply a lack of updated thinking by anglers. I’m betting things will get even testier when arriving nicer weather allowed boat anglers to take to the water chasing what should be a healthy run of spring fish.

I’m also hearing the same old (and understandable) gripe from those asking why even keep a fish over 43 inches if you already have an eater fish, which can also be over 43 inches. I pretty much stay out of that argument since many charter and head boat captains can make a compelling case that their fares have paid for the meat – should they want it. To be sure, there are many fares (anglers) who are out there for the fun-and-release of it.

I safely hide behind the edgy concept of allowing fishery management to make the calls for me to live by, which leave the regs in the hands of those who profess to know what’s best for the stocks. Oh, I’ll be among those screaming to high heavens if their management starts to stink the place up. When it comes to regs simply being a tad smelly, I’ll let the fishing groups handle the tweaking process.

DON’T CALL ‘EM WORMY: During recent chat regarding the keeping of big-ass bass to eat, a hardcore local somewhat nonchalantly argued, “those fish are wormy anyway.” Despite a bass’s willingness to swim and eat in some pretty dank and dirty places, I have to say stripers are fairly low on the worm infestation front.

Below: Cod fish worms:

Only on the rarest of preparation cases have I found typical flesh worms tucked within striper flesh. Those were usually cases of spaghetti worms and also so-called black spot disease, caused by trematodes (worms). Most wormy infestations are non-lethal. They can sometimes – but not always – lead to related surface lesions on a fish’s skin. At the same time, surface lesions on the skin of fish are not always signs of worm’s inside.  In fact, skin lesion often mean something worst -- and deadly -- going on inside, bacteria-wise.   

Again, bass aren’t half-bad when it comes to worms, especially when up against the carrying capacity of other bottom feeders, like fish in the cod and drumfish categories. Black drum might lead the pack in worminess but once cooked any such parasites are so long gone as to be unnoticeable.

Above: Spaghetti worms ...

Interestingly, I have virtually never see bluefish flesh with serious worm problems. This is surely due to their place in the upper water column, along with a metabolism – and famed speedy lifestyle – that minimizes the chances of parasite climbing aboard. I have seen larger mouth and gill parasites bugging blues. Yep, the ones that look like space creatures. Parasites like those prosper within a bluefish’s high-intake eating lifestyle.

Below: When it comes to worms, bluefish are clean machines. 

Yuck, how did I get such an unappetizing subject on such a gorgeous day?

BRIDGE FISHING COMING?: I stopped to take a look at the new trestle bridges at Hochstrasser’s (first bridge when departing LBI) and Dutchman’s (second bridge departing LBI). It looks like they’ll be ready to rumble (with traffic) very soon. While I see no sign of the once-suggested “fishing platforms”, there are some kick-ass curb-top guardrails to protect folks on the walkways over the north sides of the bridges.

If you ever fished those bridges back in the day, 60-mph traffic would literally brush the back of your legs. No longer. Not only are the walkways wider, times three, but it would take a tank to plow through the new railing. I see no reason why we can’t night fish atop the Hochstrasser bridge once it is opened – which means I’ll probably the first one rousted off the bridge by the cops. 

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GETTING GOUGED … AGAIN: Oil cartels are aggravatingly sighing in relief as the price of oil is edging back up – to where they’re again making billions a day and not measly millions.

While the price of gas eats away at our finances at every fuel stop, there is a silverish lining to be seen, environmentally. Revalued crude heightens the need to go renewable.

Unbeknownst to the happy motorists who were lovin’ the lean gas prices all winter, that fall in fuel costs was simultaneously taking steam out of what had become a heated effort to seek forevermore sources of energy.

No, I’m not cheering on higher gas prices, not with the guzzling truck I quite joyously drive. (Hey, many/most anglers and outdoor types have to drive large. It’s the nature of the need when cruising the likes of beaches.) It’s simply fiscally prudent for all of us to see the writing on the petroleum wall – signaling a rocky ride ahead, price-per-gallon-wise.

WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS …: Fuel prices are once again in the driver’s seat – chauffeuring the gurus of crude. However, while atop the on-ramp to Escalation Road, fuel brokers will be going the slow route, as to not scare customers off the gas pedal. You’ll recall our nation’s fairly impressive display of fighting-backness, when we began hitting the brakes on gas-price insanity. The last no-go go-around, Americans drivers shocked and stymied OPEC’s belief that the price-per-gallon skies had no limits hereabouts. We told them, “No way, Jose” – which led to them to frantically wonder, “Who is this Mohamed Abdul Jose of whom they speak?”

This arriving price-gouging go-round, we can no longer go gonzo by blaming Mohamed Abdul Jose. That could screw things up. The anti-OPEC blame-game was so dang convenient – and quite war-worthy. No longer.

Get this: The latest data shows the USA is now far ahead of the world when it comes to oil production. Not only have we assumed the top-dog oil spot, but we accelerated past former leader Saudi Arabia as if those guys were tripping over their robes.

For you barrel-counters, 2015 saw the USA produce 13.7 million barrels of oil per day. Left in our fumes were Saudi Arabia (11.9 million) and another former leader, Russia (11 million).

And we’re pumping some serious crude, dude. Ponder a gallon milk jug. Now, fill it with crude oil. Yes, you’ve ruined the milk but you’ll now get an idea of the weight and volume of a single gallon’s worth of black gold. There are 42 gallons in a barrel. Now, somehow envision 588,000,000 gallons … every frickin’ American day!

I know our planet is a big-ass place, but you have to agree there’s anything but a rock-solid future in sucking away one of our planet’s prime lubricants. I won’t even get into natural-gas sucking.

In an odd twist of environmental providence, every penny increase in gas prices sparks an equal reemphasis for us to find alternative and sustainable energies. Yes, we pay at the pumps now to finance efforts to someday leave them behind – in our fume-free dust.

MY GREEN MACHINE: Which magically bring us to where I’m driving – and it’s an important place for mobile anglers and outdoorspersons.

Over the weekend – and for the first time ever – I began seriously pondering going electric, at least hybridishly. Within a few mouse clicks, I was checking out some of the newest kick-offroad-ass hybrid vehicles, including full-sized, highly-manly rides.

Emerging, as we speak, are full-blown hybrid pickups, including 4WD breeds.

I instantly hooked onto the thinking of Via Motors, which was announcing, “The cleanest, most economical work vehicles on the planet.”

While I have my eco-eyes looking in a slightly different direction (see below), I liked Via’s read.

“Say good-bye to range anxiety, this is an electric vehicle with unlimited range. VIA’s new eREV trucks drive up to 40 miles on batteries then continue up to 400 miles or more on longer trips. It generates its own electricity using a fuel-efficient onboard generator or ‘range extender.’”

But I went all gecko-eyed upon reading a recent headline that the doctor of green machines, Elon Musk, was accelerating his Tesla company to think big, as in pickups.

One of the company’s websites offers – call it the Tesla Truck, the Tesla Pickup Truck,or the Tesla-150, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made it clear that the electric carmaker plans to make a pickup truck. In fact, he couldn’t be clearer: He plans to make something to compete with the best-selling light-duty vehicle on American roads: the Ford F-150. This precludes the idea of a small or midsized Tesla truck and says that Musk seems to be clearly aiming for a full-sized offering.

Read more at teslarati.com/real-challenge-tesla-pickup-truck.

The older I get, the greener I get. And, as the saying goes, it’s not easy being green, nor is it cheap. But take that Ford F-150 or a new Chevy Silverado I’m eying. To get one to suit a connoisseur’s fancy, you’re starting at $50,000. Per website chatter, that would also be the likely ballpark price for a Tesla 4WD pickup. Costly to be sure, but to be able to drive the beach on electricity alone … priceless.

NOAA Predicts Record Setting El Nino System to End by the Summer

 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Washington Post] by Angela Fritz - April 14, 2016

It was going to be an El Niño to end all El Niños. The warmest ocean temperature anomalies on record blossomed in its core, the largest area of exceptionally warm water ever seen in the tropical Pacific. The California drought was death watch — it would bring “one storm after another like a conveyor belt.” It was named Godzilla.

And now it’s dead.

RIP, Godzilla El Niño.

Over the past few weeks, the equatorial Pacific has been cooling. The extreme tropical temperatures that broke records earlier this winter have waned, and El Niño, though still present, is a shadow of its former Godzilla self. It signals a possible shift to the Pacific’s other phase, La Niña.

The strength of El Niño is measured by how abnormally warm the ocean water is in the equatorial Pacific. El Niño can be classified as “very strong” if surface waters are running at least 2 degrees Celsius warmer than average for at least three months in a row. This has only happened three times on record: 1982-1983, 1997-1998 and this winter, 2015-2016.

Not only did this year’s El Niño become one of the top three strongest on record, it also set a new record for peak “instantaneous” strength. There are many zones in the Pacific that are used to quantify the strength of an El Niño, including the often-cited Niño-3.4 zone. Ocean surface temperature is measured and averaged over the entire region in periods of a week, a month and three months. The records in this region are typically broken by fractions of degrees.

However, in mid-November 2015, the Niño-3.4 region set a new record high for weekly temperature — 3 degrees Celsius, or 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit, above average. It was the largest departure ever recorded on the scale of one week in that region.

It is now down to around 1 degree Celsius this week, for the first time since July 2015.

Despite the hype, El Niño didn’t do great things for California like many hoped it would. The other two “very strong” El Niños brought an exceptional amount of rain and snowfall to California, but this year wasn’t anything like that.

Instead of torrential rain in Southern California (and the mudslides that came along with it), the region ended winter with well-below average precipitation. Temperature departures were warm across California and the entire U.S., despite forecasts for cooler than average conditions in the South.

Even worse, California statewide snowpack was just 87 percent of average at its peak. It’s true that this year’s snowfall was a huge improvement over the previous winter, but the amount of water stored in the snow has fallen short of what was hoped for, and even expected, due to a very strong El Niño. Snowfall across the Sierra Mountains is just as important — if not more — for drought conditions as the rain that runs off into reservoirs. The winter snowpack provides around 30 percent of California’s water, frozen on mountain peaks until it melts in the spring.

As El Niño fades, the Pacific is heading into neutral or even La Niña conditions.

Anthony Barnston, chief forecaster at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, told Climate Central that the tropical Pacific’s cooling means “it’s almost a certainty that [the tropical Pacific Ocean is] going to go back to neutral in about two months.”

IRI forecasts a 50 percent chance of La Niña developing by early fall, and just over a 50 percent chance by next winter. NOAA’s climate forecasting system predicts equatorial sea surface temperatures to plummet in the next few months, reaching neutral conditions by July and La Niña conditions by August.

Those forecasts don’t always pan out; we waited for about a year from early 2014 to early 2015 for El Niño forecasts to finally prove right. But let’s assume we do hit La Niña, since history tells us there’s a decent shot of it after a very strong El Niño. What does that mean for weather?

The honest answer is we don’t know for sure, and you should be skeptical of anyone who does claim to know. We have an idea of how the weather could be affected based on what has happened in the past, but we learned the hard way this year that even super-strong events in the tropical Pacific don’t necessarily have predictable impacts on U.S. weather.

The first and most-often cited impact of La Niña is an increase in hurricane activity in the North Atlantic. Even in neutral conditions, this effect can be seen. The mechanism is pretty straightforward — wind shear, or the change in wind speed with height as you go up in the atmosphere, is detrimental to hurricane development. During La Niña, there tends to be less wind shear over the North Atlantic. During El Niño, there’s more.

But that doesn’t say anything about whether sea surface temperatures will be warm enough to fuel more hurricanes, or whether there will be a huge dome of high pressure over the North Atlantic that could prevent storm development. It only means that in all likelihood, wind shear will be lower on average, which means hurricanes will have one less hurdle to jump.

The jet stream changes during La Niña, too. Instead of El Niño’s strong jet stream that generally bring storms to the southern tier of the U.S., La Niña tends to create a weaker, wavier jet stream that brings more rain and storms to the northern states. This effect is most pronounced in the winter.

It also have an influence on severe weather later this year or next year. A team of scientists led by John Allen at IRI has been looking into how El Niño and La Niña could be contributing to the severity of tornado seasons. On average, they found that El Niños tend to suppress tornado activity in the U.S., while La Niñas tend to increase it.

But remember, these are just average weather patterns over all past La Niñas, and there’s plenty of room for deviation from this script. Southern California can tell you all about that.

 

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