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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

 

 

Friday, May 20, 2011:

What a schizophrenic day. It would go from sunny and mighty mild to instant deluges – astoundingly drenching but not apocalyptic.

There was a goodly amount of fishing being done as many folks are getting back to long weekends, fattened at both ends – off Fridays and Monday. Nice work if you can get away with it.

A buddy fluking the west Barnegat Bay had his first decentish flattie day, with three keepers. He also had a nice fat weakfish he promptly released. That’s not to say he had a stellar day. For the umpteenth time this spring, he got into smooth dogs so thick he abandoned a couple usually prime drift areas. By the by, this angler is a regular dogfish eater but believes the smooth just aren’t that good, while the spineys are prime foodstuff, when marinated in his special “cleaning fluid.” No, it’s not real cleaning fluid. It’s an organic brew he uses to ready dogfish for dinner. It not only removes any urine (though he claims that’s a rare problem) but also gets the flesh firm, but not too tough.

Bassing is headbanging good north of Barnegat Inlet. Here’s a segment I pulled from Greg C’s report: I went out early this morning with Capt. Adam Sherer of Shore Catch Guide Service, "Nugge" and Adrien. We broke the inlet, headed up the beach and found bass and bunker stacked up (not on top) not far up the beach. It was on!!! We stuck with the fish for a number of hours catching and releasing bass on lures as well as live bait. The day's total was 10 fish up to about 35-lbs (largest bass maxed out the 30-lb boga, the 60-lb boga was left back at the dock). We also lost (mouthings, pulled hooks, etc) at least a handful of bass. It was a great day on the water! ~ FishHead.Greg.

 

That said, I have some less than dramatic sessions had by folks not able to home in on working bunker. There’s not a problem finding the baitfish, it’s just hitting the pods with bass below.

Surf fishing is a pick but easily steady enough for me to offer this upcoming weekend as a primed and highly  potential.  Sign up for Simply Bassin’ and grab fresh bunker. Every fish on the event’s leaderboard have been catgut on bunker. Of course, in past years, some of the tourney’s top money winners got their stripers by soaking clams.

I chatted with drumfish fanatics and they’re not overly joyed with the action so far. Those years of astounding hooking spoiled many anglers. Still, there are fish to be caught in the usual hotspots, including some backbay areas.

I keep getting asked if anyone has been fined – or even checked – regarding the saltwater angler registry. No and no. I’ve heard of no fines – and I’ve been feeling around – and I’ve yet to hear of anyone even being asked to show the registry card.

I’ve made four copies of mine, laminating each one separately. I can lose things while I’m staring at them.

I have absolutely no doubt the long eye of the law will be looking for this mandatory paperwork, starting very soon. And just so there’s no doubt: an actual registry card – or printed copy of the official state paperwork emailed to you – must be on your person. Even if the fines get lowered from the $300 to $3000 for first offense, that will not change the requirement to possess that paperwork at all times.

Not as clear to me – but totally certain for many other folks – is the NJ stipulation that outside licenses and registry forms will not pass master in NJ. If you fish NJ you must freely register here before fishing or taking part in tourneys. I guess it makes sense: If someone is fishing in NJ, he or she must be on the record regarding what they caught while angling here. It’s the only way to monitor fishing pressure.

Cool event: Diamondback Terrapin Training

Sunday, May 22

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

The LBIF is conducting a training session for volunteers who want to participate and help collect data on the nesting ecology of diamondback terrapins on Long Beach Island. We are looking for individuals to confirm nesting that takes place on LBI and for individuals who are interested in the nest rescue phase of the project. Come learn more about the project on Sunday May 22, 2011 from 12:00 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences. Registration is not required.

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Wear PFD to Work Day:

In time for National Wear a PFD to Work Day, safety experts are offering a free DVD on saving lives from the second most deadly cause of fishing deaths nationwide: falling overboard. Vessel sinkings take the most lives, but between 2000 and 2009, 155 fishermen died from falling overboard. 

''So it's a nationwide problem. It happens one guy, two guys at a time. These are not vessel sinkings, they don't count as man overboards, these are individual guys falling off a boat either in the course of fishing or transiting from one place to another. So they really add up but they don't have the high profile that a vessel sinking would.''

Ted Teske is a Health Communication Specialist with NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Not one of the 155 victims was wearing a PFD. The NIOSH team worked with several hundred Alaska fishermen to field test new PFD models and recommend their favorites for comfort and workability in various fisheries. 

''The inflatable models you see more of are the ones that overall did well. But even inherent foam flotation vests, your standard orange work vest, and even the ones that have foam built into the rain gear also tested very well with certain groups of fishermen like the gillnetters.''

A PFD will keep you floating if you fall overboard, but a bigger challenge is getting back on the boat. Teske says that's a focus of the free DVD. 

''That's really the big thing for us – how do you retrieve the guy, how do you monitor him in the water to make sure he is still able to make it to the boat and get him back over the rail.''

Response to the man overboard has been strong, Teske says. The Southeast Alaska dive association has ordered several hundred. The Alaska Scallop Association has taken it a step further and set a policy of 100% PFD usage on deck. 

''That's one of the recommendations we have for vessel owners and skippers. Make a concrete policy with the crew so they know what is expected of them. Hope it spreads across country.'' 

Find the man overboard DVD at the NIOSH website. 
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BUNKER WARS

Copyright 2010 The Northumberland Echo 

Reedville, Virginia's Omega Protein may be in the sites of federal bureaucrats, sports fishermen and ecologists again, but at least it's not alone this time.

In a March Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting of fisheries managers, officials decided that more of the Atlantic menhaden's spawning-aged fish should be protected. Under current regulations, 9 percent of spawners must be spared. Under the new proposal, that level would be increased to 15 percent.

Raising the limit would require a 10 percent reduction in the harvest, according to Jack Travelstead of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and a Virginia member of the ASMFC. The reduction in harvest would not be limited to Omega and other purse seine operations but would apply to all menhaden fishing operations on the entire Atlantic coast. Even so, Ben Landry, a spokesman for Omega, said reductions would impact Omega's operations.

Landry explained that Omega is not free to raise its prices to make up for reduced harvests because it deals in a commodity that has worldwide competition. In order to offset lowered quantities of fish to process and sell, the company would have to find ways to reduce its costs, which might mean shortened fishing seasons for some of the company's crews.

Travelstead said that the move to protect more of the female menhaden 3-years-old and older is in response to a recent stock assessment that showed menhaden being over-fished in 2008, adding that 'over-fished' means that the stocks were below sustainable levels. The idea of protecting the spawners is to create heavier spawns in the hope that more of the larva will survive to reach the inland waters where they grow into adult menhaden. The larval fish are at the mercy of pollution, tides, weather and predators and increasing their numbers might increase the number that reach adulthood.

One problem the regulators face is that by the time any new regulation is in place, new assessments will be out and they might show that the fishery has not been over fished since 2008. It wasn't in the 10 years prior to that year, Travelstead said.

A draft regulation will be presented in August, Travelstead said and then released for public comment. A vote on its adoption would likely come at the ASMFC meeting in Boston this November.

Once a new regulation is adopted, the ASMFC will have the 'monumental' task of allocating the reductions among the numerous menhaden fishing operations along the coast, Travelstead noted.

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WASHINGTON, A Republican bid to expand and hasten offshore oil drilling in the face of $4-a-gallon gasoline prices suffered an overwhelming defeat in the Senate on Wednesday, four days after President Obama directed his administration to ramp up U.S. oil production.

Maine's senators split Wednesday in voting on legislation seeking to expand domestic oil drilling.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins voted in favor, while Sen. Olympia Snowe was one of just five Republican senators to vote against the bill.

Collins said in a statement after the vote that in light of the turmoil in the Middle East and problematic U.S. relations with oil producing nations such as Venezuela, “decreasing our dependence on foreign oil must be the cornerstone of our nation's energy policy.”

She said domestic production should remain focused on regions that already are open to drilling, stricter safety regulations should be employed and “we must also avoid our most sensitive coastal areas and areas that are essential to our fishing industry, such as Georges Bank.”

Snowe, the top Republican on the Senate committee that oversees ocean fisheries policies, said she viewed her vote as protecting states' rights to decide where drilling should be done, and where coastlines and fisheries should be protected.

“From Maine's perspective, I view this as a vote to protect states' rights,” Snowe said in a statement after the vote. “I believe domestic oil production is critical for our country's national security, and to our economy. Offshore drilling decisions should be made by coastal states – not by Washington bureaucrats ... Clearly, decisions about offshore drilling have dramatic implications for coastal states.”

Five Republicans joined 52 Democrats and independents in rejecting a bill written by Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell to speed up decision-making on drilling permits and force previously scheduled lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Alaska and Virginia coasts. The Obama administration suspended several lease sales after last year's massive BP oil spill.

The bill was supported by 42 Republicans, well short of the 60 needed to advance it.

Several GOP senators complained that the bill gave too much ground to the Obama administration, including a provision that would require independent reviews of oil companies' plans for responding to major oil spills before they could get drilling permits.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said McConnell's bill did not go far enough to expand drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico near Florida and off the Pacific coast. He said it also 'increases the burdens and requirements and hurdles of even the new Obama regulations that have been put in place since the BP disaster.'

Vitter and fellow Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, also complained that the bill wouldn't direct royalties from offshore drilling to states where drilling occurs.

After the House passed similar legislation last week, Obama on Saturday directed the Interior Department to extend existing leases in the gulf and off Alaska's coast and hold more frequent lease sales in a federal petroleum reserve in Alaska.

Both parties say that despite the BP spill, they want to allow responsible oil and gas drilling off the U.S. mainland and in Alaska. But they criticize each other's approach.

Democrats assailed the GOP bill as unnecessary and a giveaway to big oil companies, while Republicans said the measure would spur production that would reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and create thousands of jobs.

'Today's vote shows that 'drill baby drill' may be a catchy slogan, but it is not an energy policy,' said Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who is opposed to drilling off the Atlantic coast.

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