Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Monday July 7, 08 -- Fluke frustration continues; mystery ice

Monday, July 07, 2008: Waves: 1-2 feet out of the south. Water clarity: Excellent. Water tamps: Low 60s, near-beach; mid-70s bay and outgoing inlet; mid-60s nearshore past beachline.
Run-Down: Fluking is torrid in some spots and simply brisk in others. Fluke keeping is slow to bitterly frustrating.
Email-wise, I had near a dozen reports of hot fluke zones with low bagging counts.
Still, there were two 13-pound fluke taken near the Middle grounds, one came into Polly’s dock. Details on the second one are lacking. Anyone have data?
Seabassing is good when conditions allow ventures out to the reefs or close-in structure. Early birds get the bounty.
Cleaner water came into the shoreline today so bassing (for resident fish) should pick up quickly. While water temps remain cold, jigs and slow plugs might find a taker or two. Clams and (especially) worms are a sure bait choice.
This clearer water should allow for kingfish finds. Think fake-o baits or worm pieces on red float rigs. Don’t be surprised if fluke grab on. The surf has had a load of flatties, virtually none approaching take-home.

Keep an eye open for thunderboomers.
Email: “Is the commercial limit STILL 14"? That seems obscene considering the recreational numbers. I wouldn't count on any of those slightly undersize fish being left near the inlets once they find them. According to an article in the Star Ledger, apparently New York is trying to get changes made to our regs to be more in line with theirs and to share more equally in the take. Bigger fish, lesser quantity. Commercials on one side, NY on the other, and gas prices through the roof. Maybe its time to pack it in, sit on the beach and count windmills. Ron.”
Calendar: To all,

There will be a Reef Rescue meeting on July 7, 7:00 PM, at the Tinton Falls Boro Hall conference room, located at 556 Tinton Av. Tinton Falls, NJ. Boro Hall is conveniently located less than a mile from parkway exit 105.
The agenda will include past and present legislative progress and rumors of a possible regulation that could be forthcoming from DF&W. We've attended meetings with legislators and state government officials. Anything and everything to further our cause.
Please join us to hear about the progress and help map out our strategy for the future. Bring your ideas and friends. Best regards, Pete.”
SKY SCOPING: It’s time to talk hurricanes. Hurricane Bertha is a spooky gal. No, not because she’s any threat to us. It’s more the unslight matter that she was born way over in the Cape Verde zone (off equatorial Africa), a hurricane rookery that really shouldn’t get crankin’ until way later in the summer. The reason to sweat out the so-called Cape Verde season is the Jersey-worrisome fact that 2/3 of all tropical systems originating there eventually turn into the western Atlantic, i.e. toward us.
Hopefully the tropics will come to their senses and back off sprinkling hurricane seeds that far east this early.
When speaking of hurricanes, you have to ponder water temps. This is as cold water a summer as many of us way-backers can recall. In fact, looking at my journals, I’ve recorded a number of July 4th weekends when ocean water temps were in the mid 70s, as opposed to the current mid-50s.
I know all of you have absorbed my years of explaining upwelling as the culprit when unseasonably low water temps put a hurting on our much-anticipated summer activities. This year the south winds – prime mover in ushering in cooler water -- have not backed off for nearly 2 months.
We are seeing a reprieve this week, as nicer 60-degree-plus water has inched in, but the protracted affects of southerlies have the ocean all but geared to quickly revert back to frigid, often overnight.
Could we doomed to cold water all summer? Nope. There is a threshold whereby solar heating of the ocean, along with warmer southern currents immediately offshore, will win out. However, that can take until August. What we need now is a backing off of the southeasterly winds, via a wind switch to the southwest and west or a simply calm down. Anecdotal note: Cooler waters early in the summer often mark a tendency to see milder water very late into the fall. Unfortunately, that’s not always the best thing for fall fishing -- but there are tons of last-minute factors that can take over the sky-scene.
A troubling meteoro-condition not being discussed much is a building drought, especially in the Pinelands, where many paddling creeks are low to impassable.
Last weekend, I was visiting a favorite wild blueberry field located within a one-time bog zone. For the past 10 years, that field has been marked by lush fens (very damp, often water-covered patches) and deep-water creeks. The fens are now crunch-dry and the creeks are down to a chain of stale puddles between dried creek-bottom mud patches. This is double troubling. Not only are we heading into the longest and hottest part of the summer but there sure seems to an insidious dropping of water table and even the deep-down aquifer levels.
THIS THAT AND EVERYTHING: Here’s a party boat tale from Louisiana but fits perfectly in-port hereabouts.
Federal fisheries officials last week levied fines of $125,000 against not only the captain/owner of Captain Charlie's (David T. Harrelson of Lockport, La.) but also the 18 recreational anglers aboard that vessel.
As you all know too well, there has been a nasty issue over head boats, primarily down Cape May way, allowing fares to take undersized tog. Even when such violations were exposed, the fines were not immense and the anglers themselves were seldom on the receiving end of paybacks.
It should be noted that the fishing folks aboard the Captain Charlie’s weren’t saints. Actually only the captain was from Louisiana. The fares included 17 Georgians and one Floridian, none of whom had Louisiana fishing licenses. When captured, the fishermen had 909 red snapper earlier this year. The recreational red snapper season was closed at the time in both state and federal waters.
ICE FROM NOWHERE: Email: “Why you should never fish alone....because no one is able to back up your "stories".
Hi Jay, I was drifting the middle grounds on Friday the 4th, alone. Approximately 12:30 pm I heard what sounded like an incoming missile, it started out faint and became VERY loud within seconds. The whole episode lasted less than 2-3 seconds and about 15 feet off my stern I saw a splash in the water and what looked to me like a bowling ball size piece of blue ice!
By the time I reeled in the rod, started the motor and spun around to try and net the thing, it was gone, presumably melted. I saw if floating so that rules out a rock, and the fact it was gone by the time I got there, I just know it was a piece of ice, probably from a plane???
I can only imagine what would have happened if it had it my boat or my head!
(Steve: Don't sell your sighting short. Sure, it's easy to go with the outfall from a jet bathroom angle but take it from a meteorite hunter like myself -- actually, I've never actually found one -- there are meteorites that are very icy. Hell, you may have watched dollars melt away, considering a meteorite with certification – one that has been seen as it falls – is a hot seller in the collectibles realm. J-mann)

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