Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, Aug 08. 08 -- Lookin' mighty fine out there -- More Holgate news

(See shark ID email below) Friday, August 08, 2008: Holgate happenings: I’ve gotten quite a bit on instant feedback from the notice that Holgate might only open part way. I have since found out that the likely “end closure” may not be that long, as late-fledging skimmers finish their growing up process. A few years back it stayed closed for weeks on end -- into mullet season. That seem to NOT be the case this go ‘round. Of course, this year that short stint of “Rip” fluking time (before that season ends) will be lost. Truth be told, my main sensitivity to Holgate is its ongoing evaporation – and the lack of any long-term addressing of the problem. The entire erosional thing – and what the state must do to exert its riparian rights (lest every beachfront landowner simply allow their piece(s) of beach to go unmaintained) -- is a huge question that, as noted, lies at the heart of the Public Trust Doctrine. Failure of the state or landowner (Forsythe Refuge) to act as Holgate disconnects from the rest of LBI may actually be unlawful, at both a state and federal level. The problem, D.C.-wise, is we’ll soon have a freshman congressman (no women are running for Jim Saxton’s seat) who simply won’t have the clout enjoyed by this district for so along. That is why it will very likely be up to the state to take on beach maintenance – and current lack of same -- in Holgate. I had a fellow ask if beach replenishment might not create an astounding amount of land for plover to utilize. He said it in a fearful way. No fear on my part. Yes, it would absolutely recreate perfect piping plover habitat, habitat now so thoroughly degraded that piping plover – the original species leading to the summer closure – are all but abandoning it. I see very little chance of ever ending the summer closure. Feel free to carry on that cause. However, the federal mandates that indicate that the refuge must maximize the opportunity for plover to nest there flies in the face of its refusal to consider beach replenishment. Since such (outlandish) claims were once made that refuge personnel could be arrested for not abiding by the Wilderness Act, it would seem doubly likely that arrests could therefore be made if the entire refuge’s beachfront is lost while under the stewardship of Forsythe Refuge leadership. Historical note: Holgate has been cut-off from the rest of LBI in the past – and has slowly reconnected as the channel that cut off the south end migrated southward, essentially allowing Holgate to rebuild while reattaching to the rest of the Island. Well, things have thoroughly changed since then. The bulkheading and groin building on the bayside and oceanside adjacent to Holgate have so astronomically impacted the natural forces that were once in play that a natural reconnect may well be impossible. I am slowly distrusting my earlier belief that littoral drift of sand from a Beach Haven and Holgate beach replenishment effort -- as part of the current federal rebuild of the Island beaches – could bring sand back to Holgate. I watched very closely as the Surf City replenishment sand migrated seaward (as it was supposed to do, by the way) after it was place last year. I was surprised at how little sand moved onto the adjacent beaches of Ship Bottom. I presumed that littoral drift would carry thousands of metric yards southward. It didn’t – not yet, anyway. Still, the littoral drift from Beach to Holgate is exceptionally strong so that trickle down scenario could still play out. However, much of the beach-fix process remains in limbo during the struggle to gain beach easement rights. That issue has now moved to the Supreme Court – as a profoundly small group of oceanfront property owner jeopardize the overwhelming majority of homeowners on LBI. For now, Harvey Cedars will be getting sand (for maybe 2/3 of that borough), meaning Beach Haven and the Holgate section of Long Beach Township are not soon to see pumped in sand. Obviously, the sands are running out on Holgate far faster than this slim chance of trickle down sand reaching the far south end. Onward top fishing, hard to believe but the fluking is actually turning it up some – though it might well be very nice fluking conditions as we’re really off the snide after month on end of hard south winds. This morning brisk westerlies almost had a touch of fall in them. As for the fluke zone, I got reports from everywhere – including backbay zones and fluke were showing. If I had to take a shot at a slightly higher keeper rate (still hideously low overall) it would be up off Island Beach and the east ends of Double and Oyster creeks. Also, ocean fluking is sometimes seeing a keeper every 10 fish or so – which is actually a quite decent rate. I heard another undersized cobia was caught, this one out off Little Egg Inlet. One fellow emailed my that he gets them almost every year down near the Lobster Pots, south of Little Egg. I’ve never caught one. Ray note: Some folks still don’t realize the folly of bringing a cow-nosed ray aboard a craft. Southern Ocean County Hospital has had a rash of ray “sting” cases in recent years, nearly all of them after rays were pulled over the rail. I’m not a huge fan of ever cutting a hook off and leaving it in a fish’s mouth but I might look the other way in the case of large rays – though I’ve seen guys release rays (safely) in heartbeat with one of those transom flick-wrist unhookings of the fish Expectedly, one of the most common causes of stings (once a ray is unadvisedly boated) occurs when a towel or some piece of clothing is thrown over the tail. This gives the wholly unadvised sense that the creature can now be stepped upon or even hand grabbed. Rays have tails that swing with the strength of a bullwhip. The barb can drive through cloth like nothing – and usually does. One incident I covered for my fishing column, an angler had thrown a sheet of thick boat canvas over a large ray but its barb cut through that like nothing, penetrating the angler’s leg and breaking off in the muscle. If you’ve ever been stung by a ray while fishing, please pass it on. I won’t use names. jmann99@hotmail.com. Here’s a report from a where-ya-been regular (By the by, some folks have been asking about Joe and Nick H. and they’re both fine – busy for the summer – but fine. I’m sure the fall will see those guys free up some fishing – and emailing – time): Hey Jay, What are the folks at Berkley paying you for all those plugs? Ha. I'm only kidding. I've had success on them too. But - Peanut Bunker have been pulling some big flatties for me bayside in the last couple weeks. Biggest to 6 pounds - that would have taken the Lacey Elks tourny had we entered on the same day. Oh well. Corn cob mullet are now in the lagoon and on the menu for this weekend's tourny which will find us outside finally, thanks to the temp spikes as of late. Been netting and releasing some tropical looking juvenile fish in the lagoon on the west side - but didn't have time to snap a pic for identification purposes. Didn't want to kill the little guys but looked tropical. Looked to me like 1 inch long permit shaped fish - except yellow with vertical black bands. Very flat like angel fish. ? Kingfish have been unreal. We boated 62, two days ago in the bay. Some were very good size. Kept the larger fish and went sashimi on them - mmmm. Still alive. Fishing this weekend in the South Harbor Marina's (waretown) fluke tourny which benefits the Make A Wish Foundation. It's going to be a good time with a good cause. Looking to find some doormats. Baysider ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Emails: jay, i caught this shark last night and i assumed it was a brown shark. my friend insists that it was a bull shark. i'm honestly not that good with shark identification because i don't catch them very often from the surf. can you help me out here? i'm attaching two pics. thanks, mickey (Mickey, I sure see why your buddy guessed bull shark. In this picture the general shape gives that impression. Any guesses by you blog readers? ) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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Comment by Nick Handley on August 12, 2008 at 12:24am
I'm thinking it's either a brown (sandbar) or a dusky shark. I'm thinking a bull shark would have a more rounded head. That's my best somewhat-educated guess. Jay, are you going to reveal the real ID?


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