Wednesday, August 27, 2008: Waves: 2-3 feet out of the north, fairly rough but dropping with lighter winds today. Water clarity: very good; churned by north winds the look is actually better than the overclear we had. Water temps: low 70s.
Holgate update: After some initial confusion on the reopening of the far south end, things have cleared up -- with the departing of the last few fledgling (now fledged) skimmers. Holgate will open all the way this coming weekend. Thanks to Officer Chris and Stu. D. for keeping me updated – and for updating the LBTPD. I’ll be hitting there soon but not at opening. Any folks fishing there, I’d sure like some reports. Thanks in advance. Now I have to remember if I already have my 2008 LBT Beach Buggy Permit. I’m serious. I sometimes get it right as the year begins but tuck it away. Maybe they have a record down at the township building. I’d hate to needlessly lay out $50. Hell, that a entire quarter tank of petrol.
Report from BHCFA:
The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are reporting decent catches of fluke as the season quickly nears its end.
On Wednesday the 20-knot northeast wind made drifting tough for Captain Frank Camarda and the “Miss Beach Haven.” Despite using 10-ounce sinkers, they had several keeper fluke, a dozen keeper sea bass and a lot of shorts. Thursday there was no wind all day and they wound up with a nice catch of sea bass and a couple of fluke. Friday they had perfect conditions and they boated a couple of sea bass and 12 keeper fluke and a fair amount of shorts. A lot of small sea bass have moved in to the bay to keep the kids busy.
Capt. Adam Nowalsky of the “Karen Ann II” sailing from Great Bay Marina reports fluke fishing is the story right now with the ocean fluke in full swing. Dave Young and crew had a nice catch of fluke to near 6 pounds. Scott Hendrickson was down for a bachelor party in Atlantic City for groom-to-be Ryan. They caught fluke, with Ryan leading the way in landings in both quantity and quality with fish to 19". Sheriff Frank Provenzano and party did well as Wayne decked a 29", 9 lb. 8 oz. flattie with Ron catching his 8 fish limit. John Skarbek and his group from Philadelphia brought plenty of fluke came over the rail, but only 2 made the legal size limit. They did have a nice catch of 2 pound bluefish in the box.
Captain George Finck of “Sparetime Charters” had Todd McCauley and family to the Garden State South Reef for a nice catch of many short fluke with two keepers up to 6-pounds. They also took home 8 sea bass up to 4-pounds. The Stanley Plewa party caught 20 fluke and kept 3 along with 15 sea bass.
Captain Carl Sheppard on the “Star Fish” had a great week both trolling and bottom fishing. Despite a lack of birds, he has been finding blues and Spanish mackerel, and his parties are catching their share. A bachelor party fishing trip on Saturday brought some large fluke in 70-feet of water. The keeper ratio was a very high 50%.
Additional information on the association can be found at www.fishbeachhaven.com
Taken from my weekly blog:
MORE LEAD FLIES FURIOUSLY: But lest I leave the subject of lead cold, let’s time-rush forward to the cover of last Friday’s “Wall Street Journal.” An angling article leaped out at me., Along with a small graphic of striped bass, I was lured by the headline,
“Yo-yoing is irresistible to striped bass but technique can fill them full of lead.”
This story – along with my follow-up research -- has me both openly balking and furiously taking notes on yo-yoing.
Synopsis: When Lev Wlodyka brought a 57-pound striper to the scales of the annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, the angler was sitting proud and pretty. It was the largest linesider entered in this fully-famed event. Lev was feeling it – luxuriating in that surge of striper elitism associated with taking one of the most prestigious tourneys in the world.
Then, like a sniper attack, the lead began to fly. Fully-undeserving, Lev’s beauty of a bass was shot down.
A necropsy had been performed on the leading fish and 10 bullet-shaped sinkers were found therein. The sinkers amounted to 1.68 pounds of extra bulk.
Glares and nostril flares were directed Lev’s way. The poor guy just stood there thinking “What the hell?”
Just like that he was driven to Pariahville, his fish noisily disqualified. He was drenched with implications that he had cheated. The upstanding angler swore he had no idea how the lead got into the fish’s belly.
Fortunately, higher intellects prevailed. Tourney officials, to their credit, looked more deeply into the matter and soon realized the sinister sinkers were all but embedded in the fish’s lower belly where they were seemingly making their way into the intestines. They had surely been there for a long time.
With apologies abounding, Lev’s fish was reinstated, though at the sinker-emptied weight. Just to show the significance of the added weight, that loss of ounce-age dropped his fish to second place.
Then came the tempest from the belly of the bass.
Tourney officials were quickly advised that the sinkers were the result of a commercial striped bass fishing technique known as yo-yoing, a bait-preparation method common to primarily New England. The practice there is becoming very widespread – and surely working its weigh, make that way, into recreational circles.
Herein, I’ll offer a rough look at this convoluted and controversial baitfish preparation method – which (I’m sorry to admit, should any New Englanders read this) sounds fascinatingly effective. I’ll positively not push it to the point of suggesting the method be used hereabouts. The ecological folly of this technique – as seen in Lev’s leadbellied bass – is obvious.
Anyway, to reach larger deeper down stripers, commercialites rig a large bunker by jamming sinkers inside the fish for weight. Truth be told, anything from rocks to spark plugs can be dropped into the bunker’s belly.
Once weighted, a wooden BBQ skewer is carefully driven through one of the bunker’s eyes, forced all the way through the fish to just inside the tail, keeping the skewer as aligned as possible with the fish’s lateral line. This skewering acts to essentially secure the rigidity of the baitfish, which is needed to counteract the weights.
The bunker’s mouth is securely clamped shut using a hog ring or a cow ring. These are rounded open-gapped metal rings that are pressed shut with pliers.
To fish the heavily-prepared bunker, a single hook is placed in front of the dorsal fin, above the skewer. Using heavy tackle, the rigged bunker is lowered to the bottom, then slowly raised and dropped (sub-jigging speed), thus the yo-yoing nomenclature.
One of the proponents of the method, per the Wall Street Journal story, is Scott Terry of Cape Cod. Describing the technique before the WSJ cameras, Terry noted, “It looks more alive than a live fish.”
The best way to get a visual read on this matter is to go to http://online.wsj.com. Focus on the right side of the website. Work down to the video entitled version of the article.
Note: The perpetually prissy fishing chatroom sites are acting as if this whole yo-yoing thing should be hushed over. That’s BS on a half shell. As a writer, I can assure that nothing does a greater dishonor to life, liberty and the American way than hushing things up. Tell it like it is and let the people decide.