Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Friday, June 29, 2012: It’s gonna be a hot one – and I’m not even thinking in air temp terms. The number of anglers cashing in on this potential eight-day weekend is going to be astounding, though more than a few of you might not be that kind in choosing the word to describe tens of thousands of anglers converging on our beloved waters.
It is not going to be the best of weeks if you’re a fluke of, say, 17 inches and above. I can’t even begin to compute how many flatties are going to be legally put on ice. Only the “excessive heat warming” will keep this from being one of the heaviest harvesting weekends in many years.
That said, we all need to work to protect the stocks as they now are – good shape. We just gotta play nice when releasing undersized fluke.
Death to any and all fluke: Being dropped onto the deck, squeezed behind the gills when dehooking, having a hook carelessly rip even a single gill filament, being kicked into the water (surfcasting kill).
Real bad for fluke: Using a dry towel to grab fish; sunblock lotion on hands when grabbing fluke; insect repellent on hands when grabbing fluke, tossing fish into the air when releasing.
Don’t balk at these. Numerous studies show the above bad-attitude actions are why fluke have one of the lowest survival rates after release. Conservation begins before a fish is landed.
I hope pluggers are having better luck than I am. I realize I’m not putting in loads of time or covering many sites per session, but outside of blues I’m not seeing many bass, shorts of a few shorts caught on jigs.
When I say I’m not seeing stripers, I mean that literally. From years of casting net, I‘ve gotten pretty good at seeing feeding stripers along the bottom. They’re just not there of late. I hope to snorkel Barnegat Inlet this weekend, another telling look.
NONDROWNING 101: For years now, I’ve been working with the US Weather Service to devise a rip current awareness system. It’s slowly coming to fruition, most recently via a rip current app that shows real-time observances of rip currents, as lifeguards spot them.
I hope to extend the “spotting” of rip currents to include incidents of lifeguards making saves because of rips.
Say you’re heading to the beach, you check a phone app or laptop and instantly see that up and down the Jersey coastline, folks are getting in over their heads. That’s truly lifesaving data.
That said, I want to pass on some highly functional, real-life advice about how not to drown.
I’D RATHER NOT SAY: Everybody knows the dire warnings about swimming alone, on unguarded beaches, or (not as well known) when inebriated.
And you don’t have to be totally sloshed to sink like a stone. Many a drowning victim gets sunk because of beer balls. Sure that’s a little off-color, but it’s a common cop expression describing individuals who get a buzz on and instantly feel empowered to conquer the world – not to mention the ocean. Truth be told, the world can be an easier conquer than the ocean, especially if the water is in no mood for knuckleheads.
But the one thing I want to teach everyone is the power, the imperativeness, of (duh, you’d think) letting others know you’re in deep s*** and need help, fast.
With over a decade of guarding under my back-when belt, I can attest to the fact that even folks going down for the final count often remain dead quiet – somehow opposed to announcing their predicament. It’s as if drowners would rather die than be embarrassed or make spectacles of themselves.
Here’s a solid rule to live by when swimming: To get your exhausted butt out of a sinking situation, shout! Shout like there’s no tomorrow. The word “Help” ain’t half bad when hitting the shout button.
By the by, I purposely resist using the word scream. Roget’s Thesaurus might imply the two words are interchangeable but a scream implies more of a panic – the last thing you want in the mix when trying to get rescued. A shout can be just as loud, maybe louder, than a scream – and it’s repeatable. A scream – when drenched in panic – can easily be a one-and-done exertion.
One other bit of helpful advice, for those in-water times when you’re kinda only wondering about drowning, wave your arms over your head, vigorously. This is a universally accepted signal that you need help. It’s particularly functional when guards are on duty.
It doesn’t take more than one-plus-one math to determine you’ll double your rescue chances by both shouting and waving your arms. Voila. Here come the troops.
By the by, waving and shouting is effective even when guards aren’t on duty. I can’t count the number of rescues I’ve seen made – and helped in myself – involving everyday folks who hear and see someone struggling -- and jump into action.
After-hours rescues are so common hereabouts that many an oceanfront homeowner keeps a rescue “can” or buoy at the ready -- that is until I need one and have to settle for a colorful lobster buoys I yank off the side of a house.
Sidebar: It’s amazing how well many everyday beachwalkers can swim. I once had this very portly fellow join me during the sunset rescue of an older gal. He sure wasn’t much to watch as he essentially beachballed toward the surf but when that man hit the water he became frickin’ Phelps material. He was already out to the gal as I was still trying to decide whether I should go with three strokes and a breath, or one stroke and a breath.
As a final salvation point, if you’re about to go down and out in LBI surf, don’t forget to call on your local surfers. They’re often out and riding waves about. Here again, it’s the power of the shout.
I don’t want to get overly dramatic here, but I truthfully can no longer count the number of times I’ve been out waveriding and needed to detour over to pluck flounderers from the froth. Admittedly, my lifeguard training always had me keeping an eagle’s eye on any bathers I saw getting in over their heads, almost always when no guards were around. I’d often paddle over and offer a hand before the shout-mode was needed.
If this can help even one person out of trouble, it’s the best part of this column.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species News
The Bluefin Tuna Research Program (BTRP) is a competitive Federal assistance program that funds projects seeking to increase and improve the working relationship between fisheries researchers from the NMFS, state fishery agencies, universities, other research institutions and U.S. fishery interests (recreational and commercial) focusing on northern bluefin tuna in the Atlantic Ocean. The program is a means of advancing research objectives to address the information needs to improve the science-based fisheries management for Atlantic bluefin tuna.
The objective of the program is to provide a basis for advancing science-based fisheries management for Atlantic bluefin tuna. Such advancement will depend upon improvements in understanding of the fisheries harvesting and the biology of bluefin tuna, especially regarding the effects of mixing and movement between the eastern and western Atlantic stocks on monitoring stock abundance. Contracting Parties to the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), of which the U.S. is one, and other partners have embarked upon a $25 million research program on bluefin tuna, expected to span 6 years as a step toward improving ICCAT's science based management approach for fisheries affecting bluefin. Research sponsored under this funding opportunity represents a contribution to this partnership.