Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Tuesday, January 01, 2008:
Future: “2008 was the year I _____________.”
You – and life – will be filling in the blank for this time next year.
What we’ve got is a clean canvas out there, one that is sure to be painting itself at about the same speed we’ll be doing the same. Hopefully you’re not one of those paint-by-numbers types. In fact, things get the wildest when you go mixed media. Why not go all over the board this year. Try everything on for size. The canvas begs it – and you never know how many more canvasses are out there.
Yesterday’s rare-whale stranding created quite the media stir yesterday. Must have been an otherwise slowish news day. TV equipment was on-scene as the True’s beaked whale was hauled off for autopsying. The SandPaper is still on holiday hiatus (until next Wednesday) but I’ll still be getting the details on what led to the demise of an otherwise healthy creature.
Per usual for this time of year, I did major outback time yesterday. For a change I did some tracking in Barnegat Township, off Lower Shore Road. I know the area fairly well but found an astounding section of woods that extended from the road to bayside. Gorgeous taller pines with virtually no underbrush extending for over a mile to an overview of the bay meadows. Hopefully, I didn’t trespass onto any Forsythe property, which is in that vicinity. But since the Refuge is very good about signage, even in the deeply wooded borders of its property, I think I was within proper boundaries. Sadly, that means the area could also be developed someday.
KEEP OFF BLOG: Speaking of proper property signage, that’s a very strict matter here in Jersey, one that many landowners and more than few law enforcement officers are unaware.
Many years back I was actually part of successful efforts to clarify and enhance the state’s “Private Property” posting laws. It came about as part of an effort by a bottle hunting and metal detecting club. Of course, most posting laws in the state are the result of hunting lobbies.
The Garden State now has some very strict posting laws. I believe 29 other states have similar statutes requiring stringent procedures be followed by landowners when posting land.
Without going into all the specifics, if you want to post property – and aren’t in the mood to place fencing or wire around property boundaries – “No Trespassing” signage must be placed at intervals not to exceed 50 feet. That is actually very close together. I often see single large “No Trespassing” signs, thought by an owner to cover an indeterminate area in either direction. No good here in Jersey.
Not only must signs be regularly placed around an entire property area but said signs must by signed and dated annually. That’s right, all those regularly-placed signs must be updated every year. This is not so much to bust the balls of landowners but to prevent another common sight: Old rotting signs from who knows when; often ghost signs from former owners.
Where “No Trespassing” signs can be placed is something I have to research further. I say that because many states requiring signs also require those signs to be placed on their own standards. However, I believe NJ allows signs to be placed on trees, providing the trees are within property boundaries and not located on legally established roadside easements.
I often see “No Trespassing” signs placed on utility poles. Not only are they legally inert in keeping trespassers off land but the signs themselves are illegal, as are the likes of advertisements and political posters nailed to utility poles.
Simply put: If wooded areas are not posted (or fenced) the public may access that land. That is where some law enforcement officers drop the legal ball. I have, on many occasions, been told by police officers (doing a routine vehicle check on my parked truck) that I can’t be on this or that property. I politely point out that the land is unposted and get the old “All land is owned by someone so you can’t be there” answer. Landowners would love nothing more than that to be true so they wouldn’t have to go through the tedious process of putting up all those signs every single year. The law strictly requires proper posting.
Still, when I’m confronted by get-outta-here type cops, I seldom if ever push it any further than a cursory explanation of the law governing proper signage – even though I would have a slam-dunk case in court if I wanted to go that route. But, hell, I’m in the woods for a good time not to traipse around steaming over some nasty debate I just got into with the police. Also, the police always have that blanket “disorderly person” charge if I put up too much of a fuss. However, remember you do have a right to explore the state’s quickly diminishing woodlands – that right is at the root of posting laws.
By the by, I fully respect private property. On those occasions when someone comes out and manually tells me I’m on their land, I’m apologetic and outta there post haste. I would expect the same if I owned the land. Just don’t come at me with a shotgun, implying you’ll use lethal force if I don’t skedaddle. I have had that happen a few times over the years and in two instances I immediately reported the confrontations to the police, who were not happy with the gun totter – to say the least. Those shoot-‘em-up days are frickin’ over – and good riddance.
I should note here that the feds, namely the Forsythe refuge, are far-and-away the most legally efficient posters of property. They place meticulous signage over the massive areas of property they own. The state of NJ on the other hand has some bizarre out whereby it barely posts the boundaries of its forests and such – yet will still come after you like gangbusters if you’re caught violating any of the state’s myriad of rules and regulations. Now that sometimes gets me pissed, being in the middle of who-knows-where – fully unposted – to have some “ranger” come up and read the riot act on why I shouldn’t being doing this or that on “state property” with no signage within miles and miles.
Fishing down here in the Outer Banks has been fair. We've been catching bluefish, kingfish, and a striper. I lost another keeper sized bass in the Avon surf Saturday night. My first striper was 21/14 at 38". There have been a few big drum and some puppies as well. I haven't found one of those yet this year. Headed out to Cape Point now, I'll get you a report tonight.
Happy New Year,
Joe H and Family
Hey Jay, just a little fishing report from NC. In the four days
we've been fishing, we've caught an unlimited amount of spiny
dogfish, 3 bluefish, 2 kingfish, and the striper pictured below
(21lbs 14 oz and 37 inches long).
The Handley Family