Saturday, July 26, 2008: Waves: Residual 2-3 foot medium period easterly groundswell. Winds: SW and likely swinging SE fairly brisk. Water clarity: Very good this morning, maybe mucking up late. Water temps: Mid-60s.
The water jumped up yesterday to a season high 67 degrees – and even a tad warmer late. That shows how quickly it’ll begin to recover when south winds back off for even a short time. I had noted that eventually even the south winds can’t keep water temps cold – mainly mid-August onward – though this year is doubly odd because even the bottom water temps are very cold. I’ve had folks mention how cold the fish feel when they bring them up off the reefs and such.
There are a load of boats going offshore – and who can blame them. Finally a chance to get out there, wind-wise, and the reports indicate very nice breaks along with superb tuna fishing, with a smattering of billfish. This coming week is the BHM&TC White Marlin Invitational Tournament. The potential for tuna is extremely high; billfish less so. The final spots for that event are going fast – and will likely be gone by this weekend. I’ll be writing up the daily report for the contest and will post parts of it here and the entire shebang at a special club website I’ll pass on as soon as it’s up and running.
There was a lot of fishing done yesterday as winds backed off. Fluking remain everywhere. An email from BH West (Manahawkin) confirmed fluke being found in the lagoons – and often in crabbing traps. Inlet areas are loaded. An edge in keepers is going to the nearshore ocean bite. GULP! remains a favorite though a number of folks are netting small bunker to use.
Bluefishing is fairish but far from what we had last summer when the bay was all but overloaded with cocktails. Still, jigging inlet areas will surely offer bluefish pickups, especially dangling Fin-S Fish – which can last a few fish before being disintegrated.
Black seabassing is very good, though (per usual) it really helps to be the first to a given site. It doesn’t take a lot of pick smaller wrecks and reef areas clean. Togging is there for that one take-home but it is not torrid by any stretch. Despite the Draconian cutbacks in tog, the fishery is definitely not snapping back to excellence, which could mean it’s not fishing pressure alone that is hurting the stocks. Scarily, the eelgrass beds inside Barnegat Inlet are almost totally void of young-of-year blackfish.
Kingfishing could really turn on if this nicer water persists at all. Though scattered, the schools of this top-shelf dining delights are thicker than we’ve seen in the past few years. If you’re fishing the surf for bass, make sure to keep a smaller rod out for the kingfish. Surfcasting note: The fluke are literarily packed in near the beach. They are frustratingly close to take-homers but make for a fun diversion with bassing so slow. They are best fished with a fluke rig and GULP!, which is so tough and resilient it can be cast repeatedly without casting it off.
Weakfishing is slowish with some cells of spikes in west bay areas, mainly Barnegat Bay and near Grassy.
Here’s a plug for a website regular. By the by, I have no sponsors for any of my sites (any ads you see are to keep the sites “Free” to me), but I’ll always mention fun businesses apropos top our sport:
I am a long time reader and fan of your fishing columns and website. I am a local
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Anyway, I sent this email to all my friends and family in hopes they will
send it to all their friends and family.
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Here is a very important mariners’ note from the BHM&TC: The United States Coast Guard has not finished their work, relocating and marking Little Egg Inlet channel that was initially scheduled for early June. The old inlet channel markers moved over the winter but some are still in place, in addition there has been shoaling over the winter and the inlet may only be navigable at high tide (see attached notice to mariners). Due to weather the Coast Guard cannot give us any assurances that they will complete the relocation and marking of the Channel before the Tournament. A copy of their chart of the old and proposed new inlet channel is attached.
The local boaters have been using the unmarked new inlet channel area to gain access to the ocean since 2007; these waypoints in latitude and longitude are attached for your convenience. These are center channel waypoints. As you approach from the ocean, (offshore) there is one bar that you will cross but there is approximately 10 feet of water covering the bar at low tide. After you cross the bar you will find deeper water but with shoaling and waves to your starboard side. The waypoints will take you to the LEI center channel buoy and the inland waterway. We are attaching the waypoints / route for your convenience but cannot be responsible for anything that may happen as a result of your use of them. You will be using the waypoints at your own risk.
Little Egg Inlet
Center Channel Waypoints
39 28 291 N
074 16 495 W
39 28 363 N
074 16 715 W
39 28 637 N
074 17 492 W
39 28 819 N
074 17 681 W
39 29 515 N
074 18 312 W
39 30 333 N
074 18 540 W
ODD tale off the news wires:
[Copyright 2008 The San Diego Union Tribune] By Terry Rodgers -July 25, 2008 - Wayde Nichols and four fishing pals looked forward to catching hard-fighting tuna as their sport fishing boat motored out of Mission Bay last Friday night. They never expected to become the catch themselves.
In the middle of the night, their boat struck something that rendered their vessel dead in the water. Flashing a spotlight into the sea, they could hardly believe their eyes. Their 48-foot vessel, the Senor Hefe, had become entangled in a floating tuna pen half the size of a football field.
The collision, which occurred in international waters about 30 miles southwest of Ensenada, is one of the few maritime accidents involving the growing number of tuna ranches off Baja California.
During their 12-hour ordeal in the tuna cage, the Senor Hefe crew members alternated between terror and excitement. In between periods of intense negotiations to free their boat, they experienced the adrenaline rush of a wide-open tuna bite inside the pen.
Eventually, a U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat and helicopter escorted the Senor Hefe back to Mission Bay early Sunday morning. The vessel suffered an estimated $75,000 in damage.
''We were so lucky. We could have easily sunk the boat,'' said Nichols, 44, who lives in Vista.
He praised the Coast Guard for arriving in a timely manner and preventing Mexican authorities from possibly arresting him and seizing his boat. A Mexican patrol boat had rushed to the collision scene, he said, and the sailors weren't friendly.
Nichols, a former Coast Guard sailor, contends the accident wouldn't have happened if the tuna cage had been properly lighted and outfitted with adequate radar reflectors.
''This thing should have been lit up like a Christmas tree,''he said. ''It was in the middle of an area where lots of sport fishers go.''
But a spokesman for Acuacultura de Baja California, an Ensenada-based business that owns a tuna ranching operation, said the company is not at fault.
The tuna pen had two lights that were operating when the collision occurred, said the company's legal adviser, Matias Arjona.
''There are 50 to 60 floating cages out there from different companies,'' he said. ''All of them have the same lighting.''
Acuacultura's 10 tuna pens off Baja have never been hit by a vessel, Arjona said. The pen involved in the accident sustained $7,000 to $8,000 in damage.
The tuna-ranching segment of aquaculture is practiced worldwide, including in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. It came to Baja California in 1996.
Each year's ranching cycle off Baja starts in the summer, when commercial fishing boats net wild tuna. The tuna are transferred to pens that have rings outfitted with buoys so they float. Nylon netting extends up to 130 feet below water, keeping the tuna in and predators such as sea lions out.
Commercial fishing vessels move the pens around, and the tuna are fattened with sardines or anchovies for several months before sale. Most of the grown fish are exported to Japan, where they can fetch up to $45 per pound.
The bluefin tuna raised in the pens off Baja were the same quarry being pursued by Nichols and his buddies: Gary Bobel, 57, of Carlsbad; Anthony Saputo, 19, of San Diego; Dan Liston of Oceanside; and Tim Carew of San Clemente.
Their trip began at 8 p.m. Friday as they traveled toward a tuna hotspot called the 295 Fathom Spot, which is approximately 65 miles southwest of San Diego.
About 7 1/2 hours into the voyage, the sleepy fishermen were jarred awake by a horrific noise. At first, they thought their boat had struck a weather buoy or a small skiff.
Further inspection revealed that the Senor Hefe had overrun the plastic framing ringing the tuna pen. The boat was marooned in the middle, its propellers entangled in the netting.
At first, the crew of the vessel towing the pen wasn't aware of the accident. It continued pulling the pen ''with the Senor Hefe snagged inside'' for two hours until spotting the Americans.
After the sun came up, the Mexicans tending the tuna pen transferred most of the fish to another floating cage.
Then, a Mexican patrol boat with armed sailors turned up and asked Nichols for permission to board the Senor Hefe. Nichols said he refused, citing his rights as a U.S.-flagged ship in international waters.
''They had every intention of taking control of my boat and taking us to jail in Ensenada,'' he said.
Just as the damaged pen was opened, freeing the Senor Hefe, a Coast Guard helicopter swooped down. The chopper's crew ordered the Mexican sailors to back away. Heavy turbulence from the chopper's propellers forced the sailors to abort their mission and return to the patrol boat.
''It was a bit of a showdown,'' said Terence Cox, a San Francisco maritime attorney who is helping Nichols deal with the insurance claims from both parties.
Saputo, one of the passengers aboard the Senor Hefe, called the experience ''the scariest and best fishing trip of our lives.''
The good part, he said, was when the pen's operators allowed the bored Americans to fish inside the cage. The Senor Hefe returned with 20 bluefin tuna.
''Of all the far-fetched fishing stories in my life, I've never heard the likes of this one I just participated in,'' said crew member Bobel. ''This is one I'll pass on to my grandchildren.''