Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

And here we have yet another "more money than brains" driver . . .

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Above: Yet another case where I wonder how this vehicle even got as far as it did. 

Below: 1/24/2020 ... Stockton students in Holgate prove they take their erosion research quite seriously, as in 35-degree-water serious. 

(Mayetta boat loses crew member ... LET Vessels LLC in Mayetta, NJ.)

[ Update ] Coast Guard investigating fisherman overboard from New Jersey boat, found dead when brought to New Bedford 


Friday, January 24, 2020: We're inching back into the mild-winterlike pattern. The main feel will be day temps in 40s -- possibly near 50 -- with night drops barely getting below freezing at night ... for maybe the next two weeks!

Such non-hard-freeze times play well with my metal detecting. Winter and early spring are the best detecting times due to reduced foliage, which allows a leaf-free read of landscapes, revealing subtle signs of olden human impacts, hopefully going back a couple hundred years.

I have a goodly number of "colonial sites," some dating back to the 1600s. Oddly, the oldest sites don't always offer the best finds. The earliest colonial artifacts often originated in Europe. They're quite fun to find but as to rarity they're often not all that uncommon back in the homeland.

It's the later colonial period and (my favorite) the Federal Period (1790 to 1830) sites that offer up -- albeit grudgingly -- examples of primordial Americana. Coins and buttons from those times ooze U.S. history.  

I have dug five George Washington inauguration buttons -- of handsome worth. That's old-time talk. They were only given to guests personally invited to George's presidential commencement ceremonies. Holding them, it's highly likely the buttons were right there when the first president -- and his wooden teeth -- took office. If that's not history ...

PERMITS FOR DISABLED VETS ... AND MORE:  I need to point out that Long Beach Township already allows free buggy permits to ALL veterans, not just those disabled. I need to check other Island towns regarding any free permit for vets. I’m also looking into the procedure for disabled vets to acquire permits. I’m guessing it must be done separately through each town hall, meaning you can’t just drive onto the sand and wounded warrior cards if checked for a permit.

I’d like to think that some of the local tow services might offer a discount (or more) for disabled vets who get into a big-down bind on the beach.

9th District
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Contact: Jason Smith / (609) 693-6700
January 21, 2020

Connors, Rumpf & Gove Bill Exempting Disabled Vets from Paying ...


Disabled veterans will now be exempted from paying beach buggy permit fees under legislation authored by Senator Christopher Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf, and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove that was recently signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy.

Disabled veterans have been exempted from paying beach buggy permit fees under a newly enacted law that was authored by Connors, Rumpf & Gove. (SenateNJ.com)

Under the law, a disabled veteran is defined as a State resident who has been honorably discharged from any branch of the United States Armed Forces and has been declared by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as having a service-connected disability of any degree.

The delegation issued the following statement upon the signing of their veterans-initiative:

“First and foremost, we want to thank our constituent, Mr. Joseph Dolobacs, who brought this issue to our attention as part of his continuing efforts to advocate on behalf of his fellow veterans.

 “This means a great deal to those disabled veterans who participate in this recreational activity where permitted along New Jersey’s scenic coastline. Aside from the financial benefit of being exempted from the permit, this law represents meaningful gesture of respect by the State recognizing the service and sacrifice of these disabled veterans.

“Also, we want to express our sincere gratitude to legislative colleagues on both sides of aisle who supported this veterans’ initiative that we are proud to say passed both Houses of the Legislature unanimously.”

Members of the 9th District delegation serve, respectively, on the Senate and Assembly Military and Veteran’s Affairs Committee.

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BASS BANTER: (This topic will be heavily discussed in coming days and weeks). 

Below is a rundown on the striped bass options for 2020, forwarded by Paul Haertel. One of them must be applied to NJ anglers real soon, as in next month.

Not that I hold any sway (fortunately) but, as a seafood lover, I covet the “One fish at 24 inches to less than 29 inches” that results in a far-above-needed 34.9% reduction.”

However, as a sponsor of fishing tournaments I see the benefits of “One fish at a minimum size of 35,” resulting in a 27% reduction.”

The so-called coastwide standard of "'One fish at 28” less than 35”'seems very popular in a middle-of-the-road way. However, I chatted with some folks far savvier than I am on the striper subject and was told that none of the options are off the table, meaning the state officials empowered with making the final call might very well still be on the fence as the decision deadline looms. That adds some impetus to the upcoming – and final – bursts of public input: ASMFC Striped Bass Board Meeting that will begin at 11:15 AM on 2/4/20. The public can watch via webinar by signing up at this link.  http://www.asmfc.org/home/2020-winter-meeting Following this meeting the NJMFC will likely hold a special meeting in mid-February to choose which of the options will become our regulation for 2020.

NJ STRIPED BASS REGULATORY OPTIONS: Below are the conservationally equivalent options for striped bass that NJ came up with. It is surprising that they are far more restrictive than the 18% reduction that was mandated.

  1. One fish at 24” to less than 28” that results in a 35.9 % reduction
  2. One fish at 24” to less than 29” that results in a 34.9% reduction
  3. One fish at 28” less than 35” which is the coastwide standard. Reduction not listed but it is at least 40%
  4. One fish at 28” to less than 34” that results in a 46% reduction

5.      One fish at a minimum size of 35” that results in a 27% reduction

MANN OVERBOARD: Those who ignore the past are destined to repeat it. I bring forth that profundity in response to some minor Facebook kickback that came my way after sharing a nationally distributed news story indicating Isis has been instructed by it leadership to begin lighting wildfires in America. I and/or the story was accused of fearmongering. I’ll coin yet another term by instead dubbing it reality-mongering.

One dubiously slanted commenter went as far as suggesting Isis would actually be helping our Pinelands by setting them on fire, based on the system's need for fire to perpetuate. Wow is that an out-there notion. Try selling that concept in Chatsworth.  

Per wildfiretoday.com/tag/terrorism, pyroterrorism has been on the al Qaeda menu for many years. "In May, 2012 we heard that a magazine published by members of al Qaeda called for Western Muslims to wage war within the United States, urging them to engage in lone wolf attacks, including setting forest fires. According to ABC News, an issue of Inspire magazine surfaced on jihadi forums with one article titled 'It Is of Your Freedom to Ignite a Firebomb', which gave detailed instructions on how to build an 'ember bomb' in a forest in the United States, and suggested Montana as a choice location due to the rapid population growth in forested areas."

In 2005, Robert Baird, the U.S. Forest Service’s Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation Management -- now the Forest Service’s Regional Fire Director for California -- wrote a Future War Paper titled “Pyro-Terrorism-The Threat of Arson Induced Forest Fires as a Future Terrorist Weapon of Mass Destruction”.

"The United States is at grave risk of a future pyro-terrorist attack—when terrorists unleash the latent energy in the nation’s forests to achieve the effect of a weapon of mass destruction—we must define the threat, understand America’s vulnerabilities, and take action to mitigate this danger to our Homeland."

As to thinking any alert regarding Isis constitutes fearmongering, I’ll reiterate that ignoring the past is the surest way to once again suffer its outrageous slings and arrows. If we’ve painfully learned anything of late, it’s the willingness of Muslim radicals to try everything to disrupt and, if possible, destroy American life and lives. They are obviously not beyond hitting us within our own homeland. How is duly worrying about their sworn anti-American intent needlessly fostering fear? That's some serious head-in-sand thinking. 

Who can reject the notion that it’s best to be on our most careful and defensive behavior? Apparently, ostrich people, i.e. sitting duck and birdbrain types hold such a notion. This day and age demand our utmost attention to self-survival.  

I'll ratchet up the fear factor by warning that we’re dangerously due for another heinous attack by Isis and/or other bloody jihadists. Such a strike could make the setting of forest fires look like Smokey Bear child’s play.




Dear Mr. Mann,

Thank you for contacting my office regarding conservation efforts. I always appreciate hearing from the people from New Jersey’s Second District I have the honor of representing in the Congress.

As you may know, H.R. 5552 – the Migratory Bird Protection Act of 2020, was introduced by Congressman Alan Lowenthal of California and assigned to the Committee on Natural Resources. H.R. 5552 enjoys bipartisan support among cosponsors, including myself. The bill seeks to reaffirm the established practice of utilizing fines and financial incentives to reduce the incidental (unintended) killing of birds.

The Migratory Bird Protection act of 2020 would also ensure that we continue to uphold our international treaty obligations on North American bird conservation, minimize industrial hazards, and entice best practice management in industries.

I hope you will be pleased to know that the Natural Resources committee has approved this bill and has forwarded it on to the full House of Representatives.  As a cosponsor, I plan on voting for this bill.

It is my honor to represent you and everyone else in New Jersey’s 2nd District. Advocating for South Jersey is my highest priority, and I take great pride in the work that I do. If I can be of further assistance to you at any time, or if you would like information on any other legislation, please do not hesitate to reach out to me again. I encourage you to sign up to my regular newsletter and I invite you to engage with me on Facebook or Twitter at any time. 



     Jefferson Van Drew
     Member of Congress



Cold-stunned iguanas expected to fall from Florida trees

FILE – In this June 24, 2018, file photo, iguanas gather on a seawall in the Three Islands neighborhood of Hallandale Beach, Fla. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

MIAMI (AP) — The National Weather Service routinely warns people about falling rain, snow and hail, but temperatures are dropping so low in South Florida the forecasters warned residents Tuesday about falling iguanas.

“This isn’t something we usually forecast, but don’t be surprised if you see Iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s. Brrrr!” NWS Miami tweeted.

The low temperatures stun the invasive reptiles, but the iguanas won’t necessarily die. That means many will wake up as temperatures rise Wednesday.

Iguanas aren’t dangerous or aggressive to humans, but they damage seawalls, sidewalks, landscape foliage and can dig lengthy tunnels. The males can grow to at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) long and weigh nearly 20 pounds (9 kilograms).

Female iguanas can lay nearly 80 eggs a year, and South Florida’s warm climate is perfect for the prehistoric-looking animals. Iguanas are native to Central America, tropical parts of South America and some Caribbean islands.

Iguanas are allowed to be kept as pets in Florida but are not protected by any law except anti-cruelty to animals. They’ve been in South Florida since the 1960s, but their numbers have increased dramatically in recent years.

Florida residents urged to kill iguanas ‘whenever possible’

Non-native species has begun to flourish in state’s warm climate and is causing damage

 Iguanas on a seawall in Hallandale Beach, Florida. They are native to Central America, tropical parts of South America and some Caribbean islands. Photograph: Mike Stocker/AP

Non-native iguanas are multiplying so rapidly in south Florida that a state wildlife agency is now encouraging people to kill them.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said people should exterminate the lizards on their properties as well as on 22 areas of public land. It did not say how civilians should try to kill them.

“Homeowners do not need a permit to kill iguanas on their own property, and the FWC encourages homeowners to kill green iguanas on their own property whenever possible,” the agency said.

Iguanas are not dangerous or aggressive to humans but they can dig lengthy tunnels, damaging pavements and building foundations. They can sometimes carry salmonella bacteria.

Males can grow to at least 5ft (1.5 metres) long and weigh 9kg (20lb), and females can lay nearly 80 eggs a year.

“Some green iguanas cause damage to infrastructure by digging burrows that erode and collapse sidewalks, foundations, seawalls, berms and canal banks,” the wildlife commission said. “Green iguanas may also leave droppings on docks, moored boats, seawalls, porches, decks, pool platforms and inside swimming pools.”

Iguanas are native to Central America, tropical parts of South America and some Caribbean islands. They were brought to Florida as pets or inadvertently on ships and have begun to flourish in the state, where the warm climate is perfect for them.

Some have been reported in northern parts of Florida, but their spread is more limited there as they do poorly in colder weather.

Another invasive species, the Burmese python, is wreaking havoc in the Everglades as they eat almost anything and have no natural predators in the US, except for the occasional alligator.

Iguanas are allowed to be kept as pets in Florida but are not protected by any law except those prohibiting cruelty to animals. The commission takes in pet iguanas whose owners can no longer care for them under an exotic pet amnesty programme that lines up adoptions of the animals.


Florida man who killed endangered sawfish sentenced

, Treasure Coast NewspapersPublished 4:18 p.m. ET Jan. 23, 2020 | Updated 5:28 p.m. ET Jan. 23, 2020

Stephen Kajiura, professor of Florida Atlantic University's Elasmobranch Laboratory in Boca Raton, saw two sawfish in 10 days' time offshore of MacArthur State Park in Palm Beach County. Wochit

A Florida man was sentenced to two years' probation, a $2,000 fine and 80 hours of community service last month for killing an endangered smalltooth sawfish in July 2018, according to a NOAA Fisheries news release.

Chad Ponce, 38, a commercial fishing captain from Jacksonville, used a power saw on the live fish — after unsuccessfully using a hacksaw — to cut off its bill, before discarding its body back into the ocean off the coast of Ponte Vedra, the release says. 

A sawfish will die of starvation without its bill, called a rostrum, because the fish uses it primarily to sense and hunt for prey. Without it, a sawfish must scavenge for opportunistic food sources.

Sawfish, shown in this file photo, were found off the Jupiter Inlet in rare high numbers this week by diver John Dickinson.

Sawfish, shown in this file photo, were found off the Jupiter Inlet in rare high numbers this week by diver John Dickinson. (Photo: FILE PHOTO/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

After becoming frustrated when the hacksaw didn't work, witnesses reported Ponce tossed that into the ocean too, the release says.

Ponce had caught the fish, which was about 12-14 feet long, in one of the nets on his shrimp trawler, the Triton II, the release says. 

DNA evidence linked Ponce to the crime, according to a joint investigation by the FWC and NOAA Fisheries.

More: Florida man pleads guilty to killing sawfish 

Ponce initially denied any wrongdoing, but pleaded guilty Nov. 1 to the charge of killing an endangered species, for which the maximum penalty is one year in prison and a $50,000 fine. 

A judge sentenced him Dec. 19 after a joint investigation by FWC and NOAA Fisheries.

Tonya Wiley, president of Havenworth Coastal Conservation, said she does not think Ponce was penalized harshly enough.

"Although it’s something, it doesn’t seem like the punishment fits the crime," Wiley said via email to TCPalm. "These penalties handed down don’t seem adequate to me, given he purposefully and knowingly killed an endangered species."

Wiley cited a recent case earlier this month in which a Florida Keys judge banned commercial fisherman Alfredo Gonzalez Tapia, 50, of Marathon, from fishing in Florida for the rest of his life. Tapia also received nearly one year in jail for more than 200 violations on the water, according to the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office.

"He can’t even swim in the ocean or fish from land in the Keys for five years," Wiley added.


Exposing The Myth Of Plastic Recycling: Why A Majority Is Burned Or Thrown In A Landfill

What can and cannot be recycled? (Ezequiel Becerra/AFP/Getty Images)

Many Americans go through great pains to recycle plastic.

But much of that plastic isn’t recycled at all. In fact, the idea that plastics are refashioned into new products is largely a myth, Sharon Lerner writes in The Intercept.

“The vast majority of plastic that has ever been produced — 79% — has actually ended up in landfills or scattered around the world or burned, but not refashioned into new products, which is what we hope for when we talk about recycling,” Lerner says. “For plastic bags, it's less than 1% of tens of billions that are used in the U.S. alone. And so overall in the U.S., our plastic recycling rate peaked in 2014 at 9.5% so that's less than 10%.”

She says recycling companies go to great lengths to sell their products. China used to take the majority of American plastic until 2017, but it wasn’t actually recycled when it got there.

“For a long time, we've just been offloading our waste and that allows us not to see it, right?” Lerner says. “We put it in a bag. It goes somewhere else. Goodbye. And it allows us not to feel guilt.”

Another problem is a lot of local governments tell residents to put all types of plastics in the recycle bin. That’s an issue because some types simply aren’t recyclable, says Judith Enck, a former regional Environmental Protection Agency official and founder of Beyond Plastics.

“They did that because they thought it would be easier for people, and then they would pull out the nonrecyclables at great taxpayer expense,” she says. “And then what happened is when all the plastics were shipped to China, China said, 'Hey, stop sending us all of your waste. These are not really recyclable.' ”
"Now that China isn’t taking Americans’ plastic, it’s piling up at recycling facilities and going to poor countries that also don’t have the means to recycle some of those plastics, Lerner says

Instead of putting all of our focus into recycling, Enck says, one solution is to be more mindful consumers and try to buy less plastic.

“We can't recycle our way out of this problem,” she says. “We have to buy less plastic, and we need American and other businesses to make less plastic. There are alternatives, and I want to emphasize even the most careful consumer has a hard time avoiding plastics.”

So if recycling plastic is such a farce, why have we been doing it all these years? Lerner says going back to the 1970s, there have been efforts by the plastic industry to make recycling look good for the planet.

“There are a lot of plastic industry efforts to sort of boost the image of plastic and of recycling that are targeting kids,” she says. “And one of them that I write about was a contest for the best plastic bag receptacle and these were things that you could use to collect plastic bags.”

It was a heartwarming story, Lerner says, until she discovered who was behind the contest.

“That contest was sponsored by A Bag's Life, which is a project of a group called the American Progressive Bag Alliance, which is a lobbying group that actually fights against efforts to restrict plastic,” she says.

Consumers can also encourage businesses to use less plastic in their packaging by writing to stores where they shop, Enck says, adding that putting pressure at the local level is the most effective way to bring change.

“The political strength of the plastics lobby is so immense that it's very, very hard to get anything significant through at the state level, and I just can't imagine in this political climate getting anything good at the federal level,” Enck says. “So we've got to really work from the bottom up.”

Enck’s Tips for Recycling and Avoiding Plastic

  1. Recycle paper, metal, glass and cardboard. Only recycle plastics with No. 1, No. 2 or No. 5 on the bottom of the container — these types are truly recyclable. 
  2. Throw out Tupperware and plastic takeout containers, and replace with Pyrex or other glass containers. When you reheat food in the microwave in a plastic container, chemicals in the plastic can leach out into your food. 
  3. Avoid black plastic altogether — it’s made from recycled electronic waste. If you have black plastic, throw it out — it can’t be recycled again. 


Mountain lion attacks and injures child in Orange County wilderness park

Police killed a mountain lion that had taken a backpack up a tree. The father of the child who was attacked had used a backpack to distract the big cat. 
(California Fish and Wildlife Department)

The child was attacked at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, suffering injuries consistent with an attack from a mountain lion, said Capt. Patrick Foy of the California Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division.

A mountain lion attacked a 3-year-old boy Monday afternoon at a wilderness park in Lake Forest in Orange County. Shortly after, a sheriff’s deputy killed a mountain lion in the vicinity.

The child suffered neck injuries and abrasions, but his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening. Authorities feel confident they killed the right cat because it was in a tree along with the backpack the boy’s father threw at it.

he child was taken to Mission Hospital and is reported in stable condition, said Capt. Tony Bommarito of the Orange County Fire Authority.

A picture of what happened has emerged from various official accounts.

Two adults and four children were hiking about 4 p.m. when the lion attacked. The lion was reported to have singled out the child, Foy said.

The lion apparently seized the boy by the neck, creating puncture wounds, and started to drag him away. The child suffered abrasions from being dragged along the ground.

The boy’s father threw a backpack at the big cat and the cat released the child and grabbed the backpack. Someone later took a picture of the cat with the backpack in a tree.

“Due to the threat to public safety,” deputies received authorization from the Fish and Wildlife Department to kill the lion, said Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The animal was killed about 5:20 p.m.

Officials immediately evacuated the park, getting the word out by loudspeaker from a Sheriff’s Department helicopter. The park will remain closed until further notice.

Attacks by mountain lions are infrequent, but can be deadly.

Handout photo of Mark Jeffrey Reynolds, who died after being attacked by a mountain lion in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in January 2003.
(OSM Sports Marketing)

In January 2004, also in Whiting Ranch, a mountain lion killed avid biker Mark Reynolds, 35, of Foothill Ranch. He apparently was crouched over, fixing his bike, when the animal attacked. Experts at the time said a cat will sometimes interpret a crouching animal as a sign of weakness. Reynolds was probably in greater danger because he was alone.

The cat partially buried Reynolds, another common behavior with prey.

The same cat then attacked another biker, possibly because she unknowingly came near Reynolds’ body. A friend and other bikers pried her away from the cat, which was later killed.

Reynolds was the first person killed by a mountain lion in California since 1994.

Children can be another potential target in these rare attacks.

In May, 2019, authorities killed a mountain lion that attacked a 4-year-old boy at the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego.

The child had been with a group of about a dozen people in an area known as Carson’s Crossing when the cat attacked in midafternoon. Witnesses said the boy’s father kicked the large animal and threw a rock to scare it away.

In the 1980s, two children were injured in separate attacks by mountain lions in Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park in Orange County.

Pets and livestock are generally more frequent targets.

In 2017, a San Mateo County homeowner woke up to find that a mountain lion had apparently entered through partially open French doors and snatched her dog from the bedroom where she and her child were sleeping.

A mountain lion in Modoc County in 2018 specialized in killing horses.

In December, a gaunt mountain lion attacked two dogs in Simi Valley, killing a miniature Schnauzer. Later that month, a lion began killing goats in that area.

Authorities are reluctant to euthanize a mountain lion if it is behaving in a natural manner unless it poses a threat to humans. Sometimes experts will relocate an animal as an alternative measure.

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