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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Early Thursday July 12, 2007 -- Dog Days cool considerably

Thursday, July 12, 2007: Waves: Dropping 2-3 foot south swell. Water clarity: Good.

We were definitely into the Dog Days with that sweltering heat or late but starting today things cool-ify. In fact, there’s almost a chill to the air this early a.m. – not to mention 20 mph gusts from the west.

The catching has been ultra-typical of July.

The fluking is there for the exploring. And that “exploring” seems to be the secret. The pack followers are the most inclined to whine about so-so-at-best catches while those willing to zip all over tarnation seem to eventually ferret out a couple/few banner drifts, sometimes actually filling the bill (bag), especially out from Barnegat Inlet. Head out there and forget the fleet. Just pick a place you sense fish and stop-and-drop. Same holds true for near GSS and LEI zones.

Obviously, the heat has hurt the bayside fluking on a whole, though that Double Creek channel just won’t quit. Though that long east-west stretch is in many a report, it is never written about singularly as one of the finest and most diversified angling channels in the state, especially when you factor in the west end, including 42 over to the “B” s.

Bassing is up a bit, though beachgoers are a huge factor once the day’s heat kicks in. The same pluggers I often write about are taking some fun resident fish, most just sub-keeper. Clams are more often finding that one take-home.

Needless to say, there are also full-blown skunk sessions (with heavy junkfish play mixed in) for some surfcasters. It’s just that time of year – and the kingfish aren’t around to enhance the pickup potential.

As noted before, the kingfish no-show is getting a tad serious now. Even kids remember not long ago when we had no kingfish per summer. That was due to astronomical attrition from the Carolina (Deep South) shrimp netting industry, which by-caught and killed millions and millions of small kingfish. I know that industry had been hurting horribly due to foreign farmed products but it sure seems the slowness of croakers last fall (of which “billion” are by-caught by shrimpers) and this downturn in kingfish (and even blowfish) points to those netters making a very destructive comeback. And it would be just like southern fishery management people to turn a blind eye toward things like required “fish excluder devices” on the shrimp nets. Their handling of fisheries is fully atrocious from Maryland southward.

More reports of fair “triggerfish” showings out in the ocean a ways. Many of those triggers are, in fact, filefish – a similarly-shaped super eating fish. I did see one queen trigger picture. Those fish are brilliantly colored – thus the name – as opposed to the general gray color of the filefish (and related species).

I mentioned in the weekly report that folks are catching some nice porgies, sometimes called pogies – not be confused with “pogies” relating to bunker in the South – and technically called scup. Well, I got that porgy lead from Pop’s Pride and did not get an overly exact location except “off Little Egg Inlet.” Seems a load of folks want to know where to find these brightly-colored tropical looking panfish. So would I actually. While management says they are out there in goodly numbers, that is not the way it’s playing out for the last three or four years. I do like to point out the incredible “clouds” of scup sometimes seen by divers. I bring that up since boats fishing right on those clouds often get nary a nibble. Once again, it’s one of those cases of huge numbers of fish simply not eating for whatever reason. Still, that fishery is hurting for some reason. I do not know if they are commercially significant.

I had a couple interesting report of very large American eels taken both on line and in traps, bayside. That might be a good sign – and the result of the banning of elver (glass eel) catching in all East Coast states. Elver are the tiny eels working their way in from the sea to grow up in brackish to fresh waters.

Shark fishing has quieted a bit though the sharpies are still banging them. I got three emails asking if they are edible and my research indicates they are – but not overly so. Plus, what do you do with 50 pounds of shark meat – that does not freeze that well?

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