Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, July 24, 2020: Our beach patrols, while always invaluable, are even more so this scalding summer. They are frontline maintainers of beach safety.

Why tubing and Jack Daniels isn't a good mix. 


Why I don't fly ... Thanks a lot, Gary. 


Mike outdoes himself with this photo. Surely, a NatGeo photo contest candidate.

Sorry, but I want one! Maybe take it shopping -- putting it in the baby seat like folks do with dogs. "Does it bite?" Eventually. 

Below: Hmmm ...

Friday, July 24, 2020: Our beach patrols, while always invaluable, are even more so this scalding summer. They are frontline maintainers of beach safety. I hope these dedicated women and men realize this and go the extra mile to stay COVID free. Losing guards to two weeks of quarantine – and possibly exposing the entire patrol to the virus -- will make life harder for those still sitting the planks. To be sure, even reduced patrols can likely safely handle things, we just always like to maximize safety, not just squeak by. And, yes, we also personally worry about the personal health of guards not just the services they perform. Here's my motivation to verbalize this: From


Dozen LBI Lifeguards Test Positive for COVID-19; Party Likely Source

(Photo by Nicole DeGeorge)

A dozen Surf City lifeguards recently tested positive for COVID-19, according to borough officials. They are observing the self-isolation period of 10 days for essential personnel and need to be symptom free for 72 hours prior to returning to work. Another five borough lifeguards are awaiting their test results. 

Harvey Cedars Public Safety Commissioner John Imperiale said he would provide information later today after being briefed on reports of lifeguards in his borough being impacted by the virus. Unconfirmed reports have been circulating that a group of Harvey Cedars beach patrol members also have tested positive recently.

Ship Bottom officials are in the process of determining whether any of their guards attended a party where the outbreak is suspected to have started.  

“At this point, we’re trying to find out who, if anyone, was at this party,” Ship Bottom Mayor William Huelsenbeck said Friday morning. “We’re doing that now. It’s a red flag” if they were. 

Officials from the Long Beach Island Health Department did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.  

Huelsenbeck said some of the borough’s lifeguards and beach badge checkers have voluntarily been tested for the coronavirus because they are interacting with the public, not because of the recent spike in numbers.  

“They have a responsibility to socially distance,” Huelsenbeck said, “but you can’t control what they do after-hours. But we’re definitely on top of it.” 

In Harvey Cedars, the owners of Black Eyed Susans restaurant issued a social media statement saying “given the news of several COVID-19 cases in our community, we’ve made the decision to close temporarily to ensure the safety of our team and our guests.”  —G.G.S. 

23 Long Beach Island lifeguards are COVID-19 positive after ‘social gatherings’

Lifeguard rescue torpedoes. (Public domain image)

Lifeguard rescue torpedoes. (Public domain image)

Nearly two dozen lifeguards in Long Beach Island have recently tested positive for COVID-19, a health official said.

Daniel J. Krupinski, the Long Beach Island Health Department director, said 11 Harvey Cedars and 12 Surf City lifeguards tested positive.

“The health department started receiving reports of COVID-19 activity among Surf City lifeguards on Saturday, July 18 and Harvey Cedars lifeguards on Sunday, July 19,” Krupinski said. “We have reason to believe the case activity stems from common social gatherings outside of work on July 12 and 14.”

The health official did not provide the locations of the gatherings. Contact tracing is well underway, and the beach patrol supervisors are cooperating, according to Krupinski, who said that all positive cases are isolating.

“We follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and New Jersey Department of Health criteria for discharging cases form either isolation or quarantine. It can be symptom based or testing based,” he said. “Our main concern for transmission are those identified as close contacts: those that live, worked and socialized with a positive individual in their period of communicability.”

Krupinski said the outbreak remains under investigation.


More than 30 stingrays died at the Shedd Aquarium over the winter ...

I was asked to advise folks not to frolic with the now pervasive showing of cow-nosed rays. I took a minor bit of heat when recently writing they present little danger. And they don’t – but now I duly place an asterisk near such a statement.* Below: LBI. 

* Like all wildlife, even mellower species, rays don’t like being harassed. Enjoying them from a distance is a joy. However, even peaceably wading into a group of them in the shallows is unwise. Take any selfies from an out-of-water position – with the rays winging up in the background waves, as I saw in one selfie.

Shedd Aquarium plans special stingray experience - Chicago Parent

Yes, I’ve been known to swim with the cow-noses -- but I’m a paid professional. Not even slightly true. Still, I do it knowing that, with rays, anything can go wrong. You know of the famed gone-wrong incident I'm thinking of. 

I’ve written in the past about the time I was surfing Ship Bottom and wiped out, landing smack atop rays so thick in the water they turned the wave stingray brown. I was clad in only swimming trunks, no protective wetsuit material. Nothing came of my inadvertent crash landing but if ever a ray had the right to go sting-happy it was then – as a huge creature seemingly jumped on its back. “Take that, paleface!”

FISHINESS: I’m getting reports of huge number of spike weakfish. “We had them nonstop,” said one surfcaster fishing a recent calm ocean stint.

I’d like to think it will only be a few years before these shorts return as adult – to reproduce. However, we had a couple good spike summers not that many years back but little -- make that nothing came of it. The weakfish stocks remain abysmal most likely due to natural attrition from striped bass,  along with environmental problems.

Kingfish are loving the clean clear near-beach water, allowing them to feast on beloved sandcrabs and slowly returning wormlife, post replens. While sandcrabs came back crazy thick immediately after replenishment, sundry worm species have taken many years to reestablish.

I’d like to be told differently, but I’ve only seen the slightest showing of our once under-every-step lady crabs. Replenishment covered their prime habitat – from the swash to the sandbars -- with as much as 15 feet of sand. I know I’ve written about it ad nauseum but striped bass stomach content prior to replens were dominated by these crabs, sometimes comprising 80 percent of dietary intake. With that in mind, how can such a loss of bass-beloved forage not drive stripers from the LBI beachline -- and draw them back when the crabs make a recovery?


Just weighed in! Paul with this nice fat 27 and 1/2 inch fluke weighing in at 9.68 lb. From the North End.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and bird

Below: Cool shot! 

Calling it like it is, even if it’s a broken record, fluke fishing continues to be short-laden, 17-inchers abounding -- but ocean, inlet and bay waters are still offering some of the most consistent doormats in modern times. I’m taking into full consideration that never have so many anglers been so able to post reports on their hookups, thanks to social media. Nonetheless, it’s more than just a visual internet impact. I’ve heard from many of the best – and least best – flukers reporting the landing of the largest flatties in their lives. Not that doormat hookups are stacked. Donald M. told me “It’s always one and done. Three times now I barely had one other keeper” on the day’s he bested a jumbo. He strictly jigs.

Sharking is brisk as all get-out. The sharpies have it down to a nightly science. Of interest (to me), a buddy went out with medium surf rod and spinning reel, rigged up with only some thick bluefish leader, and handily landed “The biggest brown sharks I’ve ever caught.” While I’ll bet the farm he won’t be turning a 150-pounder – or getting lucky enough for the bluefish leader to sneak between the teeth of a sand tiger – it just shows that sharking doesn’t have break the bank with buying dedicated shark-grade gear.

Below: Todd Avery

How is your summer going ,, well I m engaged to my love , making the best out of life,gotta live we arent getting any younger

Below: Sheepshead are oft around, though impossible to actually target, short of fishing on structure. Jersey produces some of the largest sheepsheads in the world. Way back, they were among the most common fish out there. New York's Sheepshead Bay in Queens got its name from their their commonness. 


TIME FOR THE FIFTH ESTATE TO SHINE THROUGH: I consider my blogging to be on the good-guy side of the Fifth Estate. Although I will delve into social and political matters, it is not to the sometimes ugly degree that bloggers and webers take this newly assigned estate.

Oh, I see a few of you are drawing a blank over the Fifth Estate reference, even though it can impact your life on not just a daily basis but also minute-to-minute basis – starting this very minute

While I usually only use Wiki as a starting point for researching, its introductory explanation of the Fifth Estate is a most spot-on. It reads: “The Fifth Estate is a socio-cultural reference to groupings of outlier viewpoints in contemporary society, and is most associated with bloggers, journalists publishing in non-mainstream media outlets, and the social media or ‘social license.’ ”

Study.com politicizes it – and likely rightfully so -- writing, “We can define the fifth estate … as non-traditional media. That is to say, anything but the big boys like the New York Times, CNN, FOX News, Time Magazine, and so on. Those guys have their own interests in policy-making and may be in cahoots with other estates or just have their own political leanings that run counter to your own.”

I haven’t the energy – or history rattling time -- to explain the other four estate except to logically note that the fourth estate is free press, in the long-lived sense of the term. It doesn’t take much to recognize that modern “free press” is too often inclined toward political preferences, while still quite decently reporting non-political stories with greater speed and accuracy than any other time in history.

Sure, this segment is excessively esoteric in terms of what should be presented in a fun and/or informative blog. I’m simply trying to show the power of nontraditional media – and its intricate interplay with a multi-billion-person social media readership -- has grown to the point it has taken on a life of its own. And I’m not implying it’s all good. In fact, I can make a case that the Fifth Estate undermined the integrity of the last presidential election. I’ll go so far as saying the Fifth Estate is the wild, wild west – times billions. At the same time, squelching it would be the greatest infringement on social freedom the world has ever seen – and it has seen a lot of media squelching in its day.


Jim Hutchinson Sr.

Although there continues to be a variety of fish available in the Long Beach area, the main focus right now for the boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association is fluke. 

The fluke have begun their annual summer migration from the bay waters to the ocean, and the catches on the inshore reefs reflect that movement. In addition to the presence of the fluke, some nice catches of black sea bass are occurring in the same waters. 

Captain Carl Sheppard of the “Starfish” and mate Max had a local group of friends out for a day of fishing. The crew drifted many local wrecks and caught nearly 60 fish including 2 keeper fluke up to 19.5-inches and 8 keeper sea bass up to 16-inches. Over the course of several days Captain Carl reports some trips have produced more than others, but all are offering constant action on both fluke and sea bass. 

Captain Gary Dugan has made some trips on the “Irish Jig” to the reefs and guided his dad on three nice fluke for the dinner table. Another party ended up with some decent sized fish with one a very fat 24-incher weighing almost 6-pounds.  

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction” Sportfishing reports red hot fluke action and notices the fish are “definitely starting to move.” He had Bill Pryor, his daughter Haley, and family friend Robert Doheny on a 4-hour bay trip. The crew as able to put 7 keeper fluke in the cooler while releasing over 35. Many of the throwbacks were a fraction of an inch too short. Another half day trip saw Keith Murphy boating over 30 fish with 5 keepers. 

The canyon and mid-range tuna action continues to shine with greater numbers of mahi-mahi starting to show up in addition to more king mackerel than usual. 

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter fishing Association can be found at www.bhcfa.net

PREVIOUS REPORT:::::::::::::::::::

Jim Hutchinson Sr.

As summer marches on in Beach Haven, the fishing for the boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association continues to be strong. The fluke are making their annual migration to the ocean as the bay waters warm up, but there are still some good catches being made in the bay waters. 

Anglers fishing on the party boat, “Miss Beach Haven” have been getting in on the action with some good catches both in the bay waters and fishing some of the inshore structure in the ocean. Captain Frank Camarda reports a few five and six-pound fluke have been coming over the rails in the past week or so. Besides the fluke action there have been a decent number of keeper black sea bass going into coolers as well along with a handful of medium sized ling cod. Showing up in the bay trips have been some kingfish on the afternoon trips. 

The “Starfish” with Captain Carl Shepard along with mates Max and Matt has been fishing many wrecks with good action for their anglers. There has been constant reeling with an assortment of good-sized black sea bass and plenty of sea robins. 

Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing has been fishing practically every day, and often more than once a day. He recently had three trips out on the water and had pleased anglers on each of his trips. The first venture of the day was the Art Diebel party on a 3-hour blowfish run. The bites were a little tough, but they managed close to 30 for the table. Next he had Steve Yuknis and his father Gerald on a quick 3-hour bay charter. They worked a couple areas and had close to 30 fluke, putting 3 in the cooler. The late afternoon trip had Marc Creatore, his wife Erin, son Brady, and daughter Abby on a 4hr bay and inlet charter. They first worked the inlet area to catch 3 nice triggerfish and one keeper black seabass before heading to the fluke grounds. They worked a new area and boxed 8 keepers with the biggest being Erin's 9-pound doormat measuring 29.5-inches. The fish was caught in 3.5-feet of water. 

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.bhcfa.net


For more information and the application form see the Record Fish Program page.

Species Lbs. Oz. Year Angler Where Caught
Amberjack, greater 85 0 1993 Edwin Metzner Off Cape May
Bass, black sea 9 0 2015 Steve Singler Atlantic Ocean
Bluefish 27 1 1997 Roger Kastorsky Five Fathom Bank
Bonito, Atlantic 13 8 1945 Frank Lykes, Jr. Off Sandy Hook
Cobia 90 6 2019 Len Andalis McCries Shoal
Cod 81 0 1967 Joseph Chesla Off Brielle
Crab, blue 8¾" pt. to pt. 2008 Raymond Ponik Bayonne
Croaker, Atlantic 5 8 1981 Frederick Brown Delaware Bay
Cunner 3 8.8 2019 John Zema Atlantic Ocean
Dogfish, smooth 19 11.2 2013 Michael J. LaTorre, Jr. Sculls Bay
Dogfish, spiny 15 12 1990 Jeff Pennick Off Cape May
Dolphin 63 3 1974 Scott Smith, Jr. Baltimore Canyon
Drum, black 109 0 2008 Nick Henry Delaware Bay
Drum, red 55 0 1985 Daniel Yanino Great Bay
Eel, American 9 13 1988 Warren Campbell Atlantic City
Fluke 19 12 1953 Walter Lubin Off Cape May
Flounder, winter 5 11 1993 Jimmy Swanson Off Barnegat Light
Hake, red (Ling) 12 13 2010 Billy Watson Off Manasqua
Hake, white 41 7 1989 Wayne Eble Off Barnegat Light
Kingfish, Northern 2 8 2004 Chester Urbanski Barnegat Bay
Mackerel, Atlantic 4 1 1983 Abe Elkin Manasquan Ridge
Mackerel, king 54 0 1998 Fernando Alfaiate Off Cape May
*Mackerel, Spanish 9 12 1990 Donald Kohler Off Cape May
Marlin, blue 1,046 0 1986 Phil Infantolino Hudson Canyon
Marlin, white 137 8 1980 Mike Marchell Hudson Canyon
Perch, white 2 12 1998 Michael King Little Beach Creek
*Pollock 46 7 1975 John Holton Off Brielle
Porgy 5 14 1976 Victor Rone Delaware Bay
Sailfish 43 4 2006 Dr. John Tallia Linden Kohl Canyon
Seatrout, spotted 11 2 1974 Bert Harper Holgate Surf
Shad, American 7 0 1967 Rodger West Great Bay
Shad, hickory 2 13 2011 Robert Macejka Mantoloking
Shark, blue 366 0 1996 William Young, Jr. Mud Hole
Shark, bull Vacant (Minimum Weight 150 Lbs.)
Shark, dusky 530 0 1987 Brian Dunlevy Off Great Egg Inlet
Shark, hammerhead 365 0 1985 Walter Thackara Mud Hole
Shark, porbeagle Vacant (Minimum Weight 100 Lbs.)
Shark, s-fin mako 856 0 1994 Christopher Palmer Wilmington Canyon
Shark, thresher 683 0 2009 Bennett Fogelberg Fingers
Shark, tiger 880 0 1988 Billy DeJohn Off Cape May
Sheepshead 19 3 2014 William Catino Longport
Spadefish 11 6 1998 Cliff Low Delaware Bay
Spearfish, longbill 42 0 1989
George Algard
Joseph Natoli
Poor Man’s Canyon
Hudson Canyon
Spot 0 13 2003 Robert Belsky, Jr. Little Sheepshead Creek
*Striped bass 78 8 1982 Al McReynolds Atlantic City
Swordfish 530 0 1964 Edmund Levitt Wilmington Canyon
Tautog 25 5.92 2015 Frank LaMorte Atlantic Ocean
Tilefish, golden 63 8 2009 Dennis Muhlenforth Lindenkohl Canyon
Tilefish, gray 23 4 2015 Mark Milici Lindenkohl Canyon
Triggerfish, gray 6 11 2016 James Massimino Sea Girt Reef
Tuna, albacore 77 15 1984 Dr. S. Scannapiego Spencer Canyon
Tuna, big-eye 364 14 1984 George Krenick Hudson Canyon
Tuna, bluefin 1,030 6 1981 Royal Parsons Off Pt. Pleasant
Tuna, skipjack 13 4 1999 Craig Eberbach Wilmington Canyon
Tuna, yellowfin 290 0 1980 Wayne Brinkerhoff Hudson Canyon
*Tunny, little 24 15 1977 Mark Niemczyk Off Sea Bright
Wahoo 123 12 1992 Robert Carr 28-Mile Wreck
Weakfish 18 8 1986 Karl Jones Delaware Bay
Whiting (silver hake) Vacant (Minimum Weight 2.5 Lbs.)

Fri 7/24/2020 1:55 PM
  •  ross@albersales.com
Attachment thumbnail
Jon and Ray Vernon BFT.jpg

Fishing is heating up. There have been 20 to 30 lb bluefin tuna within 20 miles of Barnegat Inlet. We are also catching king mackerel in the mix. All on the troll, so far. Side tracker bars are accounting for most of the hookups but cedar plugs are starting to get bit, too.
Further offshore, 60 to 70 miles, there is a mix of bluefin and yellowfin. They are hitting on the troll as well as drifting with jigs and bait fishing, my personal favorite. There is nothing like when a tuna eats your bait and you are holding the rod to feel that acceleration. 
It is also possible to mix in some 2 to 3 ft pelagic sharks on spinning tackle when we fish the 20 mile grounds.
Open Boat or Charter:
Sunday, July 26 Mid Range Tuna, 60 to 70 miles, 3AM to 5PM $450 person
Monday, July 27 Barnegat Ridge, 15 to 20 miles, 7AM to 3PM $225 person
Saturday, August 1 Barnegat Ridge, 15 to 20 miles, 6AM to 1PM $200 person
4 people max on all Open Boat trips, all fish are shared.
Pic: Jon and Ray Vernon of Butler, NJ with two of their three bluefin tuna trolled at Barnegat Ridge on Saturday. 
Dave DeGennaro
Hi Flier Sportfishing
732.330.5674 cell

Dave DeGennaro
Back Bay Adventures
732.330.5674 cell


Upcoming Council Meetings:

August 6, 2020 and August 10-13, 2020

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC or Council) has two upcoming meetings in August. Both meetings will be conducted by webinar.

August 6, 2020: ASMFC Summer 2020 Meeting

On Thursday, August 6, the Council will meet jointly with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Management Board and Bluefish Management Board. This joint meeting will be held on the last day of the ASMFC’s Summer 2020 Meeting. Topics to be addressed include the Bluefish Allocation and Rebuilding Amendment, Black Sea Bass Commercial State Allocation Amendment, Recreational Reform Initiative, and Massachusetts 2020 Black Sea Bass Recreational Proposal. An agenda and other details related to the joint portion of the meeting are available on the August 6, 2020 Joint MAFMC/ASMFC Meeting Page. Additional details and updates will be posted on the ASMFC Summer 2020 Meeting page.

August 10-13, 2020: MAFMC August 2020 Meeting

The Council will meet again via webinar on August 10-13, 2020. A portion of the meeting will be conducted jointly with the ASMFC’s Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Management Board and Bluefish Management Board. During this meeting, the Council (and Board, as applicable) will develop or review specifications for butterfish, longfin squid, Atlantic mackerel, bluefish, summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, surfclams, and ocean quahogs. Other agenda items include development of a river herring and shad cap for the Atlantic mackerel fishery, review of commercial scup discards, review of the range of alternatives for the Summer Flounder/Scup/Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment, swearing in of new and reappointed Council members, and election of officers. An agenda and webinar connection information is available on the August 2020 Council Meeting Page. Briefing materials will be posted as they become available.

Questions? Contact Mary Sabo, msabo@mafmc.org, (302) 518-1143.

Enormous Fruit-Eating Pigeons Hunted to Extinction

These canopy-dwelling beauties thrived in the Pacific islands ... until humans came along.

Illustration of Tongoenas burleyi.

 Danielle Byerley

When David Steadman, curator of ornithology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, first came across the fossils of a pigeon in a cave on the Tongan island of 'Eua, he was struck by the size. At 20 inches long, excluding the tail, the mystery pigeon would have weighed at least five times as much as the average city pigeon. "I said, 'Oh my God, I've never seen a pigeon that big,'" Steadman said. "It was clearly something different."

The fossils would reveal that the newly discovered genus and species, Tongoenas burleyi, was as big as a large duck and lived in the canopy, according to a paper describing the find. It co-evolved with mango, guava, and chinaberry trees, whose tennis-ball-sized fruits served as sustenance. The birds would have acted as an essential forest cultivator by spreading seeds far and wide, notes the Florida Museum.

"Some of these trees have big, fleshy fruit, clearly adapted for a big pigeon to gulp whole and pass the seeds," Steadman said. "Of the fruit-eating pigeons, this bird is the largest and could have gulped bigger canopy fruit than any others. It takes co-evolution to the extreme."

Sadly, T. burleyi went the way of another giant island pigeon – the dodo – both of which were hunted to extinction.

As it turns out, pigeons and doves once had the lay of the land in the Pacific islands. With neither primates nor carnivores, birds flourished in this environment and diversified for 30 million years or so.

In the case of T. burleyi, they lived in the islands for at least 60,000 years. Then the humans came, and in a century or two, had killed every last one of the prodigious pigeons.

With T. burleyi gone from Tonga, the long-term survival of trees that partnered with the pigeon may be threatened, said study co-author Oona Takano, a doctoral student at the University of New Mexico.

"T. burleyi provided an important service by moving seeds to other islands," said Takano, who was previously a research assistant at the Florida Museum. "The pigeon species on Tonga today are too small to eat large fruits, which imperils certain fruit trees."

The idea of a large, duck-sized flying pigeon may send shudders to anyone spooked by city pigeons. But Columbidae, the family that includes pigeons and doves, includes around 350 species in myriad shapes and sizes – and includes some of the world's most beautiful birds. (For the record, this writer is on Team City Pigeon.)

The Pacific islands are a global hotspot for pigeon and dove diversity, with more than 90 species calling the region home. Members run the gamut from "fruit doves as light as a handful of raisins to the turkey-sized, ground-dwelling crowned pigeon of New Guinea," explains the Florida Museum. But the number and distribution of birds in the area is a shadow of what it once was, Steadman said. Tonga's remaining species of pigeons and doves represent less than half of the islands' historic diversity.

"This is another example of how looking at the modern fauna doesn't yield a complete picture of a region's diversity," he said. A diversity which once included beautiful, giant, fruit-eating pigeons that worked in concert with the trees.

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