Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday Aug. 7, 2007 -- Newsy stuff

Tuesday, August 07, 2007: Waves: 1-3 feet out of the south; glassy. Water clarity: Very good to too clear. Water temps: 70s.

I have been neck-deep in fishing stuff all day. Nothing overly dramatic, except for the further (and complete) break-up of the old wooden scallop boat that went aground on the shoals off Holgate last week. The pieces of that craft are now presenting a huge maritime threat for boats frequenting either beach Haven or Little Egg inlets. John Koegler reports huge chunks of that boat, ironically named Rough Seas, now working their way out to the deeper water. The EPA has checked what remains of the boat’s engine and apparently deemed it emptied of its fluid – emptied by the wave action, that is. As for salvaging, there’s nothing left to salvage, per se. The Army Corps makes that determination.

I had a couple questions about the murder/suicide last night in Stafford, where an ex-school teacher in his late 70s took a nail gun and killed his wife (also 70s) with it, then turned the tool on himself. He was found still alive but died shortly after arrival at SOCH. It’s all gruesome stuff and not really SandPaper material. I’m sure the dailies will have more of the blood and guts of the matter.

Not much nicer, I had numerous questions about the fellow who feel overboard and drowned, further inside Little Egg Inlet. I have no new information except that the State Police are looking for any eyewitnesses. All I heard was the boat was seen circling, drawing the attention of other boats. If you were among the boats that saw the craft circling, please email me with any details that might be useful to the investigation. Oddly, I had a couple boaters actually question how someone falls overboard. There’s an old expression “It’s as easy as falling off a log.” It’s just that easy. We had another such tragedy last year off Barnegat Inlet.

Ocean-wise, the incredibly clean beachfront water is very inviting but still low in fishiness. No kingfish. A couple widely scattered non-keeper bass. A goodly number of way-undersized fluke (near jetties). Jellyfish began to show for the first time this summer. Only a few stinging species, led by some lion's manes (Those are the one's with the deep crimson centers). The nearshore bottom is all but covered by calico crabs -- post moon. Shark spottings remain fairly common, most often made by those who know what to look for. Quote once given me by an Australian experts on sharks: "For every shark you think you've seen, 1,000 have seen you."

An emailer asked about the possible impact of any 2007 fluke overages on the already controversial proposed 2008 recreational fluke quota.

It’s ugly.

Coupled with the possible/likely reduction of fluke poundage down to the vicinity of 12 million pounds –from our current 17.1 million – it could bring the quota to less than 11 million pounds.

Those are intentionally very rounded numbers (guesses) because the variables – both scientific and political – are off the charts.

I’ll venture an ill-advised guess that a serious reduction in the 2008 quota, like that now being suggested by NMFS, would make it less likely they’d go full guns after the 2007 overages. Also, I believe NMFS is already (somewhat) factoring in potential 2007 go-overs as they look to 2008.

Must remember point: There is doubled emphasis now being paid to the legal mandates of Magnuson-Stevens Act, especially “recovery” mandates that can only be filled, in this instance, via Draconian cuts in the fluke take -- or via the miraculous discovery of data indicating the stocks are superfine, thank-you.

There are huge pitfalls in circumventing the Act’s mandates so soon after its ratification. I mention that because the Green Groups will have a legal heyday should the Act’s recovery mandates go unfulfilled – or, should fishery management too easily come up with overly convenient changes in stocks in an obvious effort to bypass conservation. I, as much as anyone, want a fair shake with fluke in 2008 but I also keep a wary eye on the big prize of saving all fisheries in the long run.

It’s already time to think Fall Classic, as in the 2007 Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic, formerly the Surf Fishing Tournament. It actually earned its ”classic” stripes along ago.

The size of the fish will remain the same: 34" for bass and 30" for bluefish

The hats are black and white this year.

There will be an additional registration site and weigh-in station this year. Oceanside Bait & Tackle in Brighton Beach, owned by our buddies Basil Shehady and Nick Sabatino (BL Bait and Tackle fame), will be available to simplify signing up and weighing in.

The entry fee will stay at $25 for this year -- but will go up next year.

(My hotmail has gone a bit gonzo. I have lost a load of read emails I was readying for publishing. Thanks for those communiqués – which I jotted notes from (for future stories).

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