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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, November 27, 2020: On LBI we savor catching stripers more than certain other areas; Coyote stuff; stuff stuff

Below: Fishing The Rip. Important: Vessel is not nearly as close as the image suggests. Just an odd telephoto angle shot on my part. 

Friday, November 27, 2020: On LBI we savor catching stripers more than certain other areas just to our north. Landing a bass on our beaches is more significant and meaningful.

In case it’s not obvious, that’s my new approach to mentally compensating for the insane bass hooking continuing at Island Beach State Park.

I guess I should mention that a number of our Island surfcasting regulars have temporarily abandoned our amazing beaches to go northing, if you get my IBSP drift. They’ll be back, for sure, likely bearing tales of brave basstistics, i.e. number of bass caught.

This is not to imply we haven’t seen our own striper mini spurts or two, including a couple more trophy throwbacks taken on bait. You put in enough time and your Island rod tips will activate. Nonetheless, I’m not hearing of single surfcasters besting stripers by the dozenload,  as is happening just across Barnegat Inlet.    

Boat fishermen are still having their catch-and-release way with bass, many, many trophyesque hookups, though the average size is dropping off, as is expected during the last days of Nov.

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Steve Palmer is at Jingles Bait and Tackle · Beach Haven, NJ  · 
Tony and I took second place today in the Kurt Horensky Turkey Troll tournament with these two beauties! They were both just over 37 and a half inches and totaled over 41 pounds. Terrific day on the water again, with great friends. Here’s to Kurt.

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Ross Gilfillan 44” Striped bass released for the future of our fishery!

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Joe McGeoch Lbi Area Fishing Reports  So proud of my 10 year old and her 36" catch!! Look at that smile!!
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More blog... 

KIND SKIES, THANK-YOU: One thing we can easily match with other areas is our weather. It continues to play favorites with most of NJ, though this Monday might see an interesting bout of wind play if sky factors align. 

In the longer weather look, we will be spot on with temps, quite close to average, with daytime highs in the low to mid-50s to start Dec. However, a few night will be in the low 30s, which is slightly below the average of 40. 

Overall, the beach beckons to holiday surfcasters. And there’s a load of fishing folks hanging here to answer the call. This evening, there were casters packed in for long sections of the beach, for the umpteenth weekend in a row. There was only a handful of us down Holgate way.

The number of non-permit people buggying the beach was through the ceiling, though I can't blame folks not wanting to pay the full piper for just the month of December. I'm anything but the permit police, though I do ask interlopers to positively drive the straight and narrow. 

The same ass-wipe who went joyriding on the big dunes at the far south end seems to have gone on again. A fresh set of tires tracks with identical tred leads me to that conclusion. However, Mister Baja seems to have made a very short trip this time, possibly having seen approaching headlights -- since his jaunts are surely happening after dark. I'm trying to get some more Refuge signs to place there, hoping to increase the warnings in that vicinity. 

Not that it's of much evidentiary value, but here's the tire tracks: 

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Derby Weigh In for Pat Ciervo with his Red Drum
Weighing 6.84lbs 25” Caught in SC on bunker

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I know I do the LBI coyote thing to death, though hopefully not to the death of yotes. There are plenty of them going to wild canine heaven via hunters around the state, most of whom kill coyotes for fun. They're not real edible.

The spotting of coyotes during the day had me writing the following in Facebook, though further below I have some additional info to bandy about among ye of a blog readership: 

This amazingly clear photo is a reminder that coyotes are indeed well established on LBI. It also suggests they might be in dire straits, sustenance-wise.
Image may contain: outdoor
As nearly as I can keep count, there are likely four of these wild canines pussyfooting about. That number could be conservative.
I have collected photo evidence that they’ve been hereabouts for well over a year, harkening back to the first photographed sightings in the Barnegat Light area, spring of 2019.
It is only very recently that the NJ-indigenous predators have become overly – some might say alarmingly -- obvious, showing themselves in the light of day. That is suspect behavior for these night stalkers. Per experts, diurnal prowling by coyotes may be a sign of desperate nutritional needs, further indicating Island forage is now in short supply.
Maureen Murray, the author of a coyote study entitled “Poor health is associated with use of anthropogenic resources in an urban carnivore” writes ‘’Conflicts can arise when wildlife are attracted to anthropogenic resources that provide food, shelter and breeding sites ...These actions are often preceded by behavioral cues that reveal habituation to people, such as frequenting human-dominated areas, being active during daylight hours, and eating anthropogenic food. These behaviors create potential for food conditioning, wherein wildlife associate humans with food either through intentional or unintentional feeding, which often results in human–wildlife conflict, particularly when it involves carnivores.”
On LBI, prime coyote prey includes possums, racoons, rabbits, sundry rodents and, indeed, feral and free roaming house cats. Coyotes are not big on birds, though they will eat most carrion, as in dead birds struck by traffic or DOA on the beach. What they will always down with relish are porch dishes put out for mainly feral cats.
Speaking of which, I can strongly speculate that the Island’s overabundant feral cat population made life quite sweet, so to speak, for the first arriving coyotes. That leads into the intriguing question of how the early bird coyotes got here. It’s a question rife with debate. Conspiratorial types allege they were intentionally brought here, a type of natural pest control, something endorsed by many experts. I investigated that possibility and there are seemingly laws against such things – or not so much, i.e. it’s a gray area.
Manual introduction always a ponderable possibility, there is absolutely no doubt the new Causeway’s highly-protective pedestrian walkway can easily serve as a wildlife thoroughfare. Hell, the old Causeway’s far narrower and far more exposed walkways had wildlife crossing left and right -- from my vantage, mainly possums, racoons, and foxes. Ask Stafford PD.
As to the new Causeway crossover, any form of wildlife crossing the bridge leaves a scent trail. No creature can follow such trails better than coyotes. Then, there’s the irresistible fragrance of meals being cooked on LBI, wafting across the bay. That has always served as a call to the wild.
Let’s assume the food sources are running low for the Island’s coyotes. What now? One strong possibility is they just up and leave. They as much as say, “Screw this” and head for the bridge, or – and I have yet to mention this other documented crossover technique -- they swim the bay.
Wild canines are not only excellent swimmers but resourceful. When coming and going from LBI, they use sedge islands to rest along the way. I’ve oft written about times I was kayaking the bay and came across foxes in the midst of making the watery crossing. One exhausted vixen grudgingly took up my offer to hang onto my kayak as I paddled her the final stretch to a nearby beachline. She disembarked, shook herself in a patented dog manner, looked back at me with mild-at-best thanks and sauntered off into nearby underbrush.
No doubt sightings of LBI coyotes will go a bit gonzo this winter, as the Island hosts an unusually large winter populations of humans to go with those yotes. And larger coyotes can present quite a gander. Keep in mind that coyotes now have their winter coat on, making them look as much as 25 percent larger than the true size of their underlying body, which are often quite scrawny looking come summer.
Now to some additional info ... 

The coyote thing has gotten so dramatic that it can’t end well. I can make note in here that driving to Holgate regularly I have seen road-kill cats. I fret the yotes might be mis-blamed in some missing cat cases, though I’ve noticed the carcasses haven’t hung around long. Either the road department is on them quickly or something is nabbing them.

By the by, coyotes are famed for taking a meal far from the point of capture. Over on the mainland, I stopped by to see the signs of what was thought to be a coyote taking down a Guinea fowl. Nope. Absolutely a fox take, right down to defeathering on the spot and easily seen tracks leading off to a nearby piece of woods, where the fox then dined.

A phone call I got only a couple days back led to a gal sending me a night recording (video) of "a horrible sound of animals fighting" that she feared was a coyote v. cat conniption. Nope, again. I’m not sure how she mistook the famed sound of two tomcats going at it tooth and nail. In fact, once I pointed out two distinct cat "voices" she was relieved. (Unsaid: Such cat fight noises will be a dinner bell for any yotes within ear range - and they hear quite well.) The gal then asked if she should worry about her dog (she owns no cats) with coyotes around. I asked what type dog she owned and she in all seriousness said "a big Doberman." I said, "Uh, that would have to be a coyote on a suicide mission." She felt better. That said, I can't ignore stories of small dogs being attacked by coyotes -- with larger dogs coming to the rescue on a number of YouTube videos. 

More data: The state of NJ strictly prohibits the relocating of trapped coyotes. They must be euthanized, no other options. That would further disprove the theory of them being purposely introduced here. Such a placement would seem highly unlawful ... unless it was done by state authorities, taking the natural pest control lead, with feral cats in mind. However, that is so unlikely that I only throw it out there in a what-if fun way. Face it, the yotes got here all on their own. 

As to someone getting bitten by a coyote, the Human Society yucks it up a bit by writing, “Coyote attacks on people are very rare. More people are killed by errant golf balls and flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes” 

The Society goes on, “Often, coyote attacks are preventable by modifying human behavior and educating people about ways to prevent habituation. In many human attack incidents, it turns out that the offending coyote was being fed by people. In many other instances, people were bitten while trying to rescue their free-roaming pet from a coyote attack."

Before departing the subject -- as if it won't come up again by weekend's end -- I have to say I'm surprised at the high number of folks on the side of the coyotes. Sure, tons of feral cat folks are up in verbal arms against them, but many a Facebook commenter wants them left alone, as a form of wildlife worthy of having an LBI presence, vis-à-vis foxes. I'm assuming they'll agree there must eventually be some natural limits to such a presence. The Island shouldn't be made so wild that dog walkers must carry bear spray along every time Missy needs to pee -- which she'll do in abundance if a hungry or (sorry for the off-colorness) horny coyote enters her walk zone.

Note: I've been told of nighttime dog walkers who suddenly find their pups, who usually go gonzo for long walks, suddenly all but pulling their masters back to the house. I think we can nix that being extraterrestrials landing in the hood. Coyotes issue both a scent and also a far more ethereal presence that even chubby household pets can detect. 

On final coyote tale came to me from a gal whose older dog heard some coyote vocalizing in the middle of the night. "He actually climbed under the covers. He's never done that before, ever." The upside: He was ready and rarin' to go for his morning walk. Coast was likely clear.  

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I know snow geese aren't rare but they're not overly common in the Holgate skyways. Gorgeous -- and noisy even from a goodly height up. I'm guessing hunters have driven them out this way. 

 

Then there's the ongoing brant (goose) showing: First pic, they're flying away; tough to tell, though.
These barnacles waited far too long to abandon ship ... 
Below: Slowly but somewhat surely (or is it shorely?) the Boulevard is getting resurfaced. The asphalt is going on thicker than usual resurfacings and it is also slightly canted to allow water runoff. 
First fish to come in under our “ Give thanks” Tournament. A Red Fish landed by Mike Christian @ IBSP. Remember we are running a food bank Tournament!

... Our very own American Angler Frank Lenetti just landed this Bass at 40 inches from LBI. Now is eligible for our “Give back” tournament. Too big for the dinner table. Nice fish Frank!

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