Saturday, September 01, 2007: Waves: Down early (from yesterday’s large and gnarly swell) but rebuilding as days goes on and forecasted NE winds kick up with gusts to 25 possible. Water temps a balmy 74 to 76 degrees.
Well, the weather is up to tricks again. Yesterday the winds held out very nicely, though the swell really kicked in with authority. Today, the winds aren’t being as friendly. In fact, it’ll take some real lee-side seeking to find anywhere calm enough to make jigging or drifting (in the bay) worth the splashiness. It should be a decent looking day for those of you getting in the last weekend before the younger kids and HS students head back to school – colleges are already well into their sessions.
It is not that crowded on the Island.
Holgate opens today. Work was being done Thursday on the removal of signs and barriers. Access will be allowed all the way to the tip and back around to the clamming grounds. The beach is apparently a fairly easy drive from mid-dropping through just rising tides – after that it’s all predicated on wave, winds and astronomical tide conditions. Huge cautionary note (and it’s not even about buggying conditions): This is the worst time for chiggers in the mud. They apparently blow in from the grasses and just swarm on the mud. DO NOT walk on the mudflats in bare feet or you’ll suffer an itching fate that you will NEVER forget. I have seen the hundreds of mainly ankle bites bring grown men to tears – and in at least three cases (two kids and a grown man) requiring hospitalization. I have been close to ER bound a couple times, once having hundreds of savagely itchy bumpules that I scratched to blood and back, finally going near crazy to the point of near shock-like symptoms. Ask Big Lance about the bout he had once. The scarring afterwards is not a pretty sight.
A buggy note: I had mentioned in my Buggying 101 notes that there were no beaches open from May through August. I know that beaches are open until late-May but I still just used that “May” as a general note. It could as easily have read June through August.
Controversy is larger than ever over arriving fluke season end, with tons of fish being taken daily from what appears to be hugely recovered stocks. The rage sure to follow December’s final restrictions for 2008 will not only be an unpretty sight but may mark a huge blow to the integrity of Magnuson-Steven as the likes of RFA say the Act has to be rewritten. It may be true but the ramifications could be fatal for the protection of all fisheries should a rewriting mean a wholesale reduction in protection. It is truly a two-edged sword when seeking massive legal modifications for a single species, though I’m first to admit that the Magnuson’s one-size-fits-all approach is dubious.
Bluefishing is back in spades. Here’s just one of quite a few blues-based reports: “Jay, hit the island on Wednesday to take care of some biz and fished the incoming during one of the most beautiful blood red moonrises I’ve ever seen. Fishing was a blast for the kids (all right I was entertained too) with all the cocktail blues and dogfish you could handle. I had some salted clams and finger mullet in the freezer and just used what I had lying around. Had fish on every cast. Bait was clearly visible all day, but just offshore about 600 yards. I’m anxiously awaiting bass and bigger blues. Mickey.”
I’m guessing blues will be the main mover for Holgate beaches, though I have to think weakies are thick toward the far back points, at clamming grounds.
Weakfishing brisk in usual spots. Grass shrimp chumming not necessary, though still the top technique. Many folks are using very light freshwater equipment to up the fight when into spikes. (Fishing 101 note: I had a younger writer ask what a spike was. It is simply a small weakfish; undersized for keeping but fun fishing.)
While all the major fish species have nicknames for smaller fish (cocktail blues or snappers for bluefish, spikes for weakfish, shorts or schoolies for stripers) fluke is lacking such a distinction yet is the most significant of all fisheries when it comes to non-keepable fish. How about flukettes? Or flicks? Or coasters (like those little round things you put under drinks)? Or dribblers (I have no idea what that means exactly, just jumped to mind)?
How about those kids rescued byte Coast Guard some 35 miles at sea out while big game fishing in a 16-foot boat, that lost its power and subsequently its radio? If it hadn’t been for a lone passing offshore fishing boat, who knows where those teens would be. Part of news story:
“15-year-old Gus Fellenbaum and his 14-year-old friend, Devon Johnson, had gone out early Monday morning for a day of fishing. They had never been out that far, they decided to take a chance.
“After several hours of not catching anything, they decided to move but the engine wouldn't start. On top of that they lost radio communications when their boat broke down.
“They were stranded 35 miles off the New Jersey coast when their 16-foot boat broke down.
“With the boat drifting, the boys caught a break when the crew of a 25-foot recreational boat spotted their boat and called the Coast Guard for help. Authorities said the boys are very lucky.”