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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday Nov. 8, 07 -- Fluking is great -- maybe gannets know something we don't

Thursday, November 08, 2007: Waves: Small. Water clarity: Excellent; a veritable overnight cleanup. Plugability: Moderate; very few fish makes it that while winds and water makes it good otherwise.

I didn’t get skunked jigging Fin-S today. Three large fluke taken (and released) and a couple more missed hits, that I first thought might be bass but soon realized they were likely fluke. I passed numerous bait fishermen, Surf City to the Acme area, and not a one had anything short of skates to show. However the horizon held hope. The gannet are now swarming; very later in coming. They were not organized, meaning there isn’t concentrated schools of baitfish but just the presence of these bass indicators is a real good sign. I’m told there were some nice bunker baitballs off Beach Haven.

The bayside bass bite is quieter, as much because of light fishing pressure as fewer fish.

If any of you frequently drive the South End, you likely noted – and swerved way from -- the Bay Haven Marina truck and large trailer that was always parked on the northbound side of the Boulevard, I guess that’s the Spray Beach, North Beach Haven area. Anyway, there is a jog right in the road there so the parked trailer was, to me, a real tight squeeze if you were in the inside (Number 1 lane) and had someone on your left in the Number 2 lane. Well, I’m told someone finally creamed the parked trailer. I’ll tell you right now I came close a couple times. It’ll be interesting to see if the truck and trailer gets parked there again.

A few slammer blues were caught today.

Here’s a couple reads on the surf clam no-show: (By the by, I did find ONE surf clam today, while driving miles of beach. But, what a “One.” It’s huge, the type that would grab Johnny Weissmuller’s legs when he was diving in waterfall pools near the elephant graveyard in Tarzan movies. Well, maybe not that big but I’m still keeping it alive – why, I have no idea.)

Emails:

Hi J,

I wanted to comment on today's question concerning the lack of surf clams washing onto the shoreline after inshore winds. Generally, I fish the north end of the Island. About two years ago, I started to notice the lack of clams washing up, and I have noticed the difference in the 12th. Street sandbar. Since the building of the new south jetty, the sand has steadily filled in the Barnegat Light beach area, and has changed the character of the bar immensely.

Not that many years ago--six or so, during the New Moon or Full Moon phases, it was a simple matter to wade out onto the bar during the very low tides, and see 100's of surf clams happily buried in the sand with their weed tassels swinging with the water's movement. They have completely disappeared since that time. At the sametime, the bar itself has not only changed shape, but has moved. Its center was located approximately stright ahead from the end of the 12th. Street path, and is now centered approximately straight ahead from the end of the 15th. Street path.

Before this happened there was a second smaller bar at the end of the 15th. Street path. Inbetween the two bars there was wonderful water to fish with sloughs, and small bars, and cuts. A few years ago, that area inbetween the bars filled in with sand. At the sametime that occurred, the clams disappeared from the sands as well. Clams did wash up on the beach last year, but from the few trips that I have made since this fall's northeasterly winds started, I have not seen one, and almost no washed in empty shells either.

Perhaps there is another reason why the clams are not washing in, but from my limited insight, I am thinking that the addition of sand along the beaches has buried the clam beds.

As further proof of this filling in of the surf with sand, just look at what has happened to the Loveladies' jetties that at one time stood above the water line, and are now mostly buried, and their nice holes mostly filled in as well. There were two wonderful jetties to fish on 29th. and 30th. Streets in Barnegat Light, that basically, are no longer there.

The only thing constant in life is change, and we just have to make the best of it.

Tom R

^^^****^^^^^^^^^^

Jay, I did find about 2 dozen clams in the mid-island surf post storm. I agree though, it's not like it used to be. I remember about 5 years ago after a winter storm, I filled the bed of my truck up with clams. I was working on a beachfront home in Sea Isle City at the time and the clams were knee deep for miles. The township didn't care if we had a clamming license or not, they just wanted them out of there. Man did they stink up the beach after a few days.
Joe

*^^^*****

J, I’ve filled my cooler with fall surf clams for over 40 years now. I use them for bait and also make chowder with them. Like you said, they’re gone. I remember you once wrote that you can buy them wholesale in Atlantic City. Do you have any more info on that?

(I’ll have to ask one of the folks who load up on them that way. IMPORTANT!!!!!! Not all those wholesale clams can be used for chowder. In fact, virtually all the ones in tackle shops are from condemned ground in the Hudson Bay/Raritan Bay area. However, I believe the ones they buy by the bushel in AC are top-grade edible clams bound for the likes of Campbell Soup Company. Extra note: I have used washed up clams for foodstuff but can’t recommend it. The likes of Bill Figley have mentioned to me that there are some potential dangers to downing stranded clams. I’ve never gotten sick after frequently making clam strips from the same tongues we use for fishing. However, I once got woozy from smoking them -- in a smoker, weirdo. )

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