Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, June 05, 2020: The bite remains ripe for the taking. ...

Friday, June 05, 2020: The bite remains ripe for the taking. The beachfront, though churned a bit, has bass and blues for bait chuckers, i.e. patient sorts. Three separate reports of some very concentrated kingfish schools, so keep a smaller bait rod at the ready if hitting the beach. Keep to eat, let the rest spawn.  

The South Jetty has more blues than the law allows, so to speak – and there are some folks there that need speaking to about the three-fish bag limit. I think we all feared social disobedience -- to go with the social distancing – should a bluefish bite this hot erupt.

One of a few emails: “Had fish on three out of four casts. Had fun with C&R after I limited out. Wish everyone was as honest. Saw people getting bag limits, taking them away, then returning. I have to admit most fishermen were obeying the laws. … Only comment I made was to a fellow who stated cleaning his three fish on the concrete pavement. He fully understood and apologized. We’re buddies now. …”

The average size of slot-protected trophy striped bass being taken on boats is close to astounding; many fish well over 40 pounds based on measurements. The tally of photoed-and-released fish reaching me is into the dozens. I should note that I, like many, are seeing fish taken just to our north. Nonetheless, the cow numbers are heartening – and heading north, albeit slowly.

It’s at this point that I’ll fully admit that the fun and educational catch-and-release fishing for put-back stripers is admirable. At the same time, I now doubly guarantee that the resurgence of the bass population, quickly moving into unhealthfully plentiful numbers, could come on sooner than expected. I have no problem with keeping trophy fish sacred, as long as the sure to be insanely overabundance of smaller bass go to us anglers.

I don’t bring up fluke that much because this meat fishery is in its own heavily fished world. It’s more fun to run with the notion of nabbing a couple nice flatties, then motoring off to best a few eater blues and an invite-home bass.

REALITY BITE: Saturday's 10 a.m. freedom march (old term resurrected) over the Causeway bridge is seemingly an honorable lesson in utilizing the legal recourses when needing to bring attention to social grievances.

I’ve lived through many generations of marches – and, yes, riots – at a distance, mind you. A daily surfing lifestyle came first and foremost.

Thinking back to early high school, we had a savvy history teacher who had us study the utterly vicious and deadly Newark riots that had taken place during the summer within the city’s Central Ward. That was the start of my appreciation of what minorities go through. Oddly, we kids somehow felt an immediate sympathy for Newark’s African Americans after learning most had no air conditioning during a ferociously hot summer. Not sure why that hit home so hard, but it did. And, yes, we had been enjoying the sea breezes as they saw their lives sweating away to nothing.

Worth mentioning, all us Boomers saw the assorted and overly numerous upheavals against Vietnam, taking an atrocious turn at Kent State. Vets came to my college on Maui and told me they were fearful to even say they had fought for our nation upon returning home.

Back to the Causeway march for freedom, obviously it's mainly symbolic in our region, where the everyday impacts of racial biasing are hardly prevalent, though “brown” Spanish-speaking residents/workers might beg to differ.  Nonetheless, showing compassion, even from a safe harbor like Southern Ocean County, might very well offer a touch of overall support to those on the front lines. For me, it offers solidarity to address either civil rights for minorities or intolerance of police aggressiveness.

Since I am NOT in the mix – in a healthy journalistic sense – I’m more willing to allow those much more in-touch with the deepest essence of the struggle do their things. I can then come forth to interpret what has come out of it all -- be it good, bad or (don’t be surprised) nothing.


COYOTES AMONG US … STILL: One of the most compelling photos of a large coyote, possibly one of coywolf caliber, was taken on LBI last week. While the snapshot quality is not quite ready for prime time, i.e. in here, I’ll post it at fishlbi.com.

This pic is the latest of easily a dozen or more sightings in the same general north end LBI vicinity. I shy away from offering exact locales of sighting, hoping to keep things sorta secretive for these secretive creatures. I have a weak spot for them, as I have for any wild creature that somehow perseveres in the face of a burgeoning and ferociously dangerous human presence. Ironically odd how humans allege, “A coyote can be dangerous.” How black is that talking kettle?!

The debate over the Island presence of these wild canines has led to some semi-nasty pissing matches. Shows things have been a tad testy of late.

“Yes, there is a coyote!”

“No, there’s not!”

“Why you little …”

There are no coyote doubts from my vantage point. Almost two years ago, I was emailed a very clear security cam photo of a huge LBI coyote. Even I balked at first blush. Follow-up indicated the sender was not of a fool-around ilk. The pic was real. I was then faced with going public … or not. I opted to merely write a couple blog lines about the photo. I knew there would be backlash of some sort. Sure enough. It came in a general refusal to accept the pic as anything but a fine Photoshop effort.

It would be many months later that I began getting sighting reports from other reliable sources. Something was surely afoot. Adding to the afootness, I was shown photo evidence of two coyotes hanging near Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. The odd part was that photo was taken even before the backyard image was captured.

What’s the big deal about an LBI coyote anyway? Hey, you’re reading this with relative interest, right? So I’ll rate the arrival of coyotes as a newsworthy novelty thing, with a wildlife twist thrown in for good measure. It’s the same as if an Islander went out to the herb garden and found a large Gila monster sunning itself. Oh, wait, that’s a bad comparison – after all, how many people even have herb gardens, right?

It would be convenient to peg coyotes as simply a wildlife novelty of note … if it weren’t for the conspiratorial angle. Enter hearsay that coyotes were intentionally brought here as a covert way to take a literal bite out of an ongoing feral cat population, a feline presence that threatens human efforts to foster the nesting of rare and endangered bird species. Admittedly, a prowling coyote might happen upon a nest with tasty chicks within, but they are almost always looking for larger meals, being infinitely more interested in feasting on the feral cats always looking for said nests.

Despite alleged instances of coyotes being purposely emplaced as a natural pest control, there is no need to belabor the possible LBI point-of-arrival since there’s a far greater likelihood that these crafty wide-ranging rovers can readily make their way to LBI by following their own prowling proclivities.

How can mainlandish coyotes Island-hop? While a winter iceway from mainland to Island offers easy offseason passage, it’s a hop, skip and a swim from there to here. I can attest to the fact foxes simply swim over, taking breaks on sedge islands along the way.

Another documented crossover point is the Causeway. Even before the updated Causeway’s easy-cross walkway came into being, many an adventuresome mainland creature made the run of the bridges, maybe taking up temporary residence on the Bonnet Islands. The new walkway offers a slam dunk crossing, with thick rails protecting against traffic and presenting excellent cover for even less daring critters.

As to the Ocean County coyote population, it’s quite large, but seemingly not growing at that fast a rate, as indicated by tracks and scat. To be sure, every inch of Ocean County has its quota of coyotes, each making territorial claims to anything edible within its haunts. But, as is the case with any other alpha predators, nature has its own population controls. Part and parcel to that control is the literal development of more powerful coyote hybrids, known as coywolves. They are already dominating the mainland. Push comes to shove, a smaller everyday coastal coyote will be forced to get daring, driven to seek dangerous digs over on people-infested LBI. This muscling out of the meeker critters could keep Island-hopping coyotes coming – and going, especially after feral cats are polished off and all that’s left as vittles are gulls, possums and trashcan scraps. It won’t be easy being an Island coyote.

March Over Causeway Bridge on Saturday to Protest Racial Inequality

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Laura Esposito (right) helped organize a peaceful student gathering to remember the shooting victims in Parkland, Fla., in 2018. On Saturday, she will help lead a protest march against racial inequality. (File photo)

In February 2018, Laura Esposito was part of a small group of Southern Regional High School students who organized a peaceful demonstration outside the school to memorialize those killed during a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. At the time, part of her mantra was the “need to be better humans.”

On Saturday, June 6, Esposito, a 2018 Southern graduate, along with friends Schneider Juste and Olivia Sattan – who graduated from Southern last year – will lead a march over the Causeway Bridge with a similar mantra in mind.

“Our main goal is to raise awareness of casual racism throughout the country and even right here in our community,” Esposito said. “We grew up here and love it. But people here need to realize racism is not OK, and we’re trying to be a voice that speaks up against racism of any kind. This is why we chose to do this here. There are systemic inequalities based on racism going on everywhere, and it needs to change. And we need to be a voice for that change. It starts with us, right here in our community. We all need to be better human beings, myself included. We’re all in this together.”

The demonstration is slated for 10 a.m. It’s expected to begin near the East Bay Avenue extension at Route 72, and participants will utilize the barricaded sidewalk on the north side of the thoroughfare bridge near Mallard Island Yacht Club and the Dorland J. Henderson Memorial Bridge as their path eastward. They will march along that same path onto Cedar Bonnet Island.

Once over the main bridge, participants will gather for about 30 minutes in the area along the state highway next to The Boat Yard. Once the last of the marchers arrives to that area, a short time will pass before they head back toward the original gathering area.

“The expectation is to be done by 1 p.m.,” Juste said. “Before we walk over the bridge, we’ll have about 15 minutes of speeches. But before anything starts, we’re going to have a moment of silence for George Floyd.”

Esposito said the hope is that the march generates positive dialogue for change regarding the inequalities black people face every day.

“Racism happens in varying scales all across the country,” she said. “We need to do our part to make America better. Racism exists and there’s no place for it. This march is about stressing the inequalities black people everywhere face on a day-to-day basis.”

Juste and Esposito reiterated that participants in Saturday’s demonstration must wear face coverings and do their best to maintain a peaceful presence at all times, while 6 feet apart.

Marchers can bring signs, but they cannot bear negative messages, specifically anything degrading about police.

“This is not going to be a riot, and this is not about anything against police,” Esposito said. “We respect the police and we don’t want anybody saying anything negative about police or carrying signs that degrade the police. Schneider and I, as well as the others who are helping organize this, are going do our best to be on the lookout for those kinds of things. We also want to be respectful of the governor’s executive orders for face masks and distancing. We’re trying to do this in the best, most law-abiding way possible. That’s why we’ve alerted and talked to the police department, and others, about this.”

Still, part of the purpose is to express the anger many feel about racism and its effects.

“Yes, we’re angry that racism exists and it’s a problem, even here,” Esposito said. “And we can’t downplay that. But we can do productive and positive things to change our culture and society. This is one of the ways.”

Juste said he and his friends only want something positive to come out of the march.

“Racism and racial inequality are important issues throughout the nation,” he said. “We’re going to have a moment of silence at the beginning, but we really want to get the message across that many people experience racism and racial inequality and it’s not right.”

Stafford Township Police Chief Thomas Dellane provided a reminder that parking within the roadway along East Bay Avenue is prohibited, and violators will be ticketed accordingly. He also said state and county officers may have a presence in the vicinity during the march.

Participants should be prepared for hot weather. As of Thursday afternoon, the forecast called for a temperature in the mid- to upper-80s. On the event’s Facebook page (LBI Black Lives Matter Protest), more than 450 people have expressed their desire to attend.

— David Biggy



Jim Hutchinson Sr.

Despite some days with extraordinary winds as weather fronts moved through the Beach Haven area, warmer temperatures resembling summer have finally arrived for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association.

This weather trend has brought summer type species of fish to add to the menu of spring offerings that are still hanging around. Striped bass action continues to tighten lines up with schoolie sized bass in the bay waters and inlets, while fish over 40-inches are being caught in the ocean and even from the beaches of Long Beach Island.

The bluefish and black drumfish action has not been as good as was anticipated, but it is still strong enough to make trying for them worthwhile. The action on the inshore reefs and other structure is dominated with the black sea bass action along with some ling and occasional codfish.

Captain Gary Dugan had a party out doing some reef fishing on the “Irish Jig” despite some unfavorable weather conditions. He said the group made a great showing and put a respectable number of keeper sea bass in the fish box.

Other fish showing up to make things interesting are blowfish, kingfish, some shark action, and even a few weakfish.

Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing has been fishing practically every day and scoring on fluke in the bay, striped bass around the inlet waters, and good catches of black sea bass in the ocean. The Critelli family had a bay charter and first picked up a decent number of stripers including three using bonus tags. They then jigged up some 25 fluke, keeping four for the table.

Another trip Denise Theiler along with her daughter Madison and friend Shawn caught over 30 fluke on a half-day trip. They went home with four keepers to 20-inches. Captain Brett said much of the catching was in just 2-feet of water.

Captain Brett stresses good social distancing on all trips and requires facemasks on all charters but allow them to be temporarily removed for pictures. 

Additional information on the BHCFA and its many activities can be obtained at www.BHCFA.net.

Adriane Grube to American Angler
Nothing but sharks! We lost count at 8. As soon as the bait hit the water, we were reeling them in. We were at Seaside Park, NJ.
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Greg Cudnik to Lbi Area Fishing Reports
This is what it’s all about!
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Fishermans Headquarters

12 year old Fisher caught and released this 53 pound striped bass on Thursday. All on his own and all gear/tackle we got from Fishermans Headquarters. Epic Day! ~ Frank on the “Hard Four” 

Eric Abrahamson
Caught my DD Fluke I was after today...
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For my shark fishing friends we had this happen 3 times tonight.

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Greg O'Connell
Threw a change up and let the kids put 2 dozen Kingfish in cooler. Not bad for 2.5hrs of fishing.
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Jim Hutchinson Jr.!!!! BOBBER BLANKIN DOWN!!!!! That was an Awesome!!!

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Look who showed up......Kings!

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Congratulations to Chuck Bluhm Jr. with his 34" Bluefish by winning the American Angler Bluefish tourney. Chuck won a bunch of cash and goodies.

Also a congratulations to Ed Flores and Dave Kreuzer for coming in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Guys, I will make arrangements to get your winnings to you. A special Thanks to Century Rod/Advanced Fishing USA for their support in this tournament. Next up!!! Fluke of July! Advanced Fishing USA P.S. Nice shirt Chuck!

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Joe Handley Jr
This 20" bluefish fell victim to an 8-9" lure in the middle of last night, (early morning) in the LBI surf. Ferocious animals. If they grew to 50lbs you'd need tuna gear to catch them. If they reached 100lbs, they'd be eating Jersey Shore tourist regularly.
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George Horvath <georgerhorvath@yahoo.com>
I caught, tagged and released 29 bluefish to 20” including doubles on metals and teasers in Manasquan Inlet the past 4 days. Most of the parking spots at the Inlet are still closed. There are more people there every day than I ever saw before in the past 56 years. Very few people wore a mask. I’m George Horvath in Bordentown, NJ. 
Jim Hutchinson Jr. updated his cover photo.
My thanks to Chuck Tyman Manny for putting us on the bite on Thursday; left 'em biting to find the perfect fish for tagging stripers in the ongoing Northeast Striped Bass Study. Details to follow in The Fisherman (and this 40-pounder wasn't even the big girl that got the first miniPSAT device!)
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Wow - what a fish!! Chris Robertson caught this monster 43” striper yesterday in Beach Haven using Bunker!
Per Murray, his dad, “because the fish was over 38” it was returned to the sea per regulation, to breed and replenish the striper population. Both the pole and bait were purchased from Jingles!”
Nice job Chris!! 

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Greg O'Connell
I’ve created monsters and the kids have turned into vampires. They wanna sleep all day and fish all night. Can’t say I can blame them with the fishing the past couple weeks. Certainly the best spring in the last 5+ yrs.

All three have caught their personal best striped bass. And then reset their personal best in the same week. Crazy.

Lots of over 40” fish and a handful in the “slot”, which allowed them to each bring a fish home for dinner. But even the dinner fish were 36-37.5 inches.

Ryan’s definitely come into his own and needs zero help. His 43” and then 47” were well deserved. Especially since he’s been willing to hand a rod to hit littlest brother to keep him involved. And watching Dylan hook, fight, and land a 44-45” 30lb fish last night was pure pleasure. Fight could have gone either way.

Hopefully these storms and full moon don’t ruin the bite and we get another couple weeks to try and catch these fish.

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Rick Donofrio
50 plus
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Coast Guard Backs Wind Industry on Turbine Layout; Fishing Group Calls Report a 'Failure'

Copyright © 2020 Cape Cod Times
By Doug Fraser
June 1, 2020

The offshore wind power industry cleared one of its last remaining bureaucratic hurdles Wednesday with the release of a long-awaited report from the Coast Guard that essentially agrees with an industry proposal on turbine layout.

The Coast Guard's Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study has concluded that turbines should be spaced 1.2 miles apart and oriented in the same direction across seven offshore wind lease areas totaling around 1,400 square miles south of Nantucket.

Concerned with vessel safety and the ability to maneuver while fishing, some fishermen and industry groups sought larger lanes, as wide as 4 miles, to transit to fishing grounds, but the five wind power companies holding the leases said that would force them to crowd turbines outside the travel lanes, making it less safe to navigate and fish.

The offshore wind leaseholders - Equinor, Mayflower Wind, Orsted/Eversource and Vineyard Wind - had been concerned that some of the layouts proposed by other stakeholders could reduce the number of turbines and power generation. The increasing efficiency and power capacity of newer turbines have alleviated some of that concern.

"The layout, while less than ideal from power generation standpoint, will ensure continuity of fishing, safe navigation and search and rescue throughout the entirety of the wind development areas," a Vineyard Wind spokesman said via email.

American Wind Energy Association CEO Tom Kiernan also applauded the Coast Guard study, which was undertaken after the fishing industry, wind power companies and other stakeholders could not reach agreement last year on layout and spacing within lease areas.

In remarks in the Federal Register, the Coast Guard concluded that a uniform grid pattern "will result in the functional equivalent of numerous navigation corridors that can safely accommodate both transits through and fishing within the (wind energy area)."

Some were concerned that a large field of wind turbines hundreds of feet high with large blades would affect vessel radar, and the Coast Guard acknowledged in the study that there was no comparable wind farm in the U.S. to test that theory. But it cited studies that showed while there may be some impact, it would not make radar inoperable.

The report put the onus on mariners, advising that vessels exercise due caution when operating within a wind farm, including assessing the skill and experience of those on board, vessel condition and size, weather conditions and that a critical decision should be made on whether to transit during the day or night.

Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, a commercial fishing organization that participated in the failed process to come up with a compromise layout, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. In a Twitter post Wednesday night, the group called the study "a public process failure, putting at risk those men and women who still go out to work every day so that Americans can eat, even while sheltering in their homes."

Orsted spokeswoman Lauren Burm said her company applauds the Coast Guard's "exhaustive, methodical examination of navigation safety" and the company, which holds a lease in conjunction with Eversource under the name Bay State Wind, looked forward to working with all stakeholders.

A Vineyard Wind spokesman said this report meant that it had just one more major regulatory benchmark, the release of the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management environmental impact statement, which it expected would come next month.

Rick Donofrio
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6/1/20 UPDATED 2:11 PM Bigger bass and bunker have moved into the area Local angler Dennis Smith had a 20 pounder on a pencil popper and one of our regulars Luca got got a 37 inch bass on 21st avenue in Seaside Park. Starting to light up now.

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