GREATLY APPRECIATED: It’s that annual humbling time when I seek donations to keep this site running through the coming year. I have no sponsors -- outside those who read and support the site. This is my only fund-drive. Any and all donations go toward the website. And financial support is needed. Jay Mann 222 18th Street Ship Bottom, NJ 08008-4418
Friday, October 24, 2008: Waves: 2-4 feet, north. Winds: Light.
What a break. The winds and waves have laid down – despite forecast and computer maps. The chance to fish a Friday was not missed by a number of boat and beach folks. I saw a lot of zipping about by buggies with loaded racks and trailered boats heading to launch points.
We are smack dab in the midst of the rogue cow bass season. That’s my depiction of the angling when smaller seasonal bass are being taken at a relatively regular clip only to have a mega-striper chomp down – here, there and anywhere. This is perfectly portrayed by the Classic. After Scott Law’s 36-15 on Wednesday (way ahead of all other bass weigh-in) Larry Weidner landed a 34-11 yesterday, once again way larger than all other weighed fish. That’s the rogue fish syndrome – a great thing by my reckoning. It levels the playing field, since that one big cow might show at any beach at any time.
The rogue fish concept is poles apart from the blitz or hot-bite times. Those brisker bites are easily discernable when the weigh-in scales – and Classic leaderboard -- light up with fish from entry-level right up to 50 pounds plus -- all caught in association with a bait parade or some other stimuli. The numbers show a slow transition of many fish from just-keepable 15 pounds slowly notching up to the biggy-of-the-day, say 50-something – every weight in-between is represented. You get the drift.
I also have it on first-hand accounts that some 30- to 40-pound class bass were taken by boats, mainly by anglers bringing their own live-line bait – as opposed to snag-and-drop action.
Spot are huge as live-line-ables this fall. Not only are some still around but also many folks penned up dozen even hundreds of them up after catching (or netting) as many as they wanted in late summer and early fall.
Spot keep astoundingly well providing you use larger pens and are very careful of thermal shock – almost exclusively from heat and not from the cold nights of late. Overall, fish have a much easier time adjusting to fast temperature drops – with the obvious exception of tropical fish in aquariums.
Slammer fishing is not what it should be. There are spurts but we’re really due for some neon bright bluefish bites. That could come about after this arriving bout of hard south winds – though we’re going to see some major hookups during the south winds – per the way it’s been going the past five or so years when southerlies turn on everything.
REEF BILL UPDATE: A big buzz among anglers surrounds the lopsided passing of the senate portion of the reef bill. By a 32-4 vote, the NJ Senate backed the idea of artificial reefs (within state waters) being exclusively the realm of anglers. It is now onto the NJ Assembly. While a victory in the one house does not usually assure a victory in the other, such an extreme win in the senate sure seems to heighten the chances of the bill passing the assembly – and heading off to the Governor, who has already given indications he’ll sign it.
TRENTON -- A bill sponsored by Senator John H. Adler which would prohibit commercial fishing off New Jersey's artificial reefs in order to preserve the sites for recreational fishermen was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 32-4.
"Recreational fishermen are the foundation of New Jersey's Shore tourism economy," said Senator Adler, D-Cherry Hill. "Thousands and thousands of recreational fishermen visit the Shore each year to practice their sport, and spend money at local shops, restaurants and lodgings. By preserving artificial reefs for recreational fishermen, we will ensure the vitality of the Shore economy that depends on them."
The bill, S336, would prohibit, within New Jersey's waters, any person from using commercial fishing gear, such as lobster pots, trawl nets, gillnets and other gear, within 100 feet of artificial reefs created under the Division of Fish and Wildlife's artificial reef program. The only exceptions would be for rod-and-real, hand line, spear or recreational gig. Violators of the provisions of this bill would be subject to the penalties established under the State's Marine Fisheries Management and Commercial Fisheries Act, which includes civil fines ranging from $10 to $5,000, at the discretion of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Senator Adler noted that the artificial reef program has been funded through contributions from recreational fishermen. As such, the lawmaker argued, these fishermen should have access to the reefs. However, due to the nature of commercial fishing, many of these sites are littered with commercial gear, making access for recreational fishermen impossible.
"Recreational fishermen built New Jersey's artificial reefs through their contributions, and are being driven away by commercial over-fishing," said Senator Adler. "These reefs were created for everyone to enjoy, but when commercial fishermen move in, they take over the location. Without regulation, the little guy would have no opportunity to enjoy these man-made wonders which were originally intended for everyone's use."
Senator Adler noted that there are fifteen man-made reefs within 2 and 25 miles off New Jersey's coastline, covering 25 square miles of sea floor. The sites are all within easy boat range from one of New Jersey's 12 ocean inlets.
The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.
Captain Pete Grimbilas
TOME FOTE RELEASE:
In reading over this Month's printed JCAA Newspaper I realized there is a couple of mistakes in one of the my columns (Research Set-asides the Growing Problem) and I need to correct them. Where it says sea mapping in the article about research set-asides it is supposed to say NEAMAP. Also I changed another sentence. I will rerun the corrected column in next month's newspaper. NEAMAP stands for Northeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (NEAMAP) If you have any questions please feel free to give me a call.
Research Set-asides the Growing Problem
The Councils and the ASMFC were looking for ways to fund research that is outside the box. They wanted a system in place where recreational and commercial fishermen and universities could fund important research that could not be funded otherwise. They came up with the idea of a research set-aside. This would take up to 3% of the fisheries quota and use those fish for scientific research. This helped fund the side-by-side trawl surveys, gear modification, some recreational statistics and many other projects. This was a success in funding projects typically unfunded that would benefit the fishing community. As usual, the bureaucracy at NMFS has corrupted the system. When they can’t get funds to do the research required by their Federal mandate, they are seeing the set-aside funds as easy pickings. They are doing NEAMAP using these funds and that was not the original intent of the program. Remember, this 3% comes from the recreational and commercial quota. We give up millions of pounds of fish so that this research can be done. We should not be using our quota to support work already mandated for NMFS. Redirecting that money for their pet projects is obscene. I am calling on the Federal Councils and ASMFC to refuse to do set-asides until this problem is corrected. This is another example of why commercial and recreational fishermen have absolutely no trust in NMFS and the states in the way they handles things like this. This only reaffirms the concern about the funds that will be generated by a saltwater license. Good intentions don’t hold up against NMFS and the states’ continued money grabs.