Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, October 02, 2020: Looks to be another headbanger of a weekend; other LBI traffic and fishing stuff

Below: I let the pros take the tougher shots of rarer birds. I simply have fun with the common ones, like this one that was within five feet of me, merrily dining, though at one point it did stop to give me a bit of an over-the beak stare. 

Friday, October 02, 2020: Looks to be another headbanger of a weekend. Traffic arriving per usual Oct. weekend complimented by an inestimable load of folks who never departed the Island, post-season. On a typical anecdotal level, this past week or so, the Island seems to have reduced its people holding down to a more typical after-summer showing, at least a few days a week. That further supports the supposition that autumnal weekends will remain a draw like never before. I’ll still with my prediction that Thursday through Sunday will be magnet for COVID discombobulated sorts, particularly of a New York persuasion. Oh, I have absolutely nothing against Empire State souls, though you must admit that those bright orange NY license plates are mighty dang prevalent – and not just due to their brightness. Hey, any of you older Pennsylvanians recall when Pa. tags were almost that exact same look?

 Old Pennsylvania License Plate PENN DOT- Dorothy 1950's | #45289405

A quick traffic note that the speed limit signs on the Blvd. in Ship Bottom have finally been raised to a highly sensible 40 mph. Surf City is going with a winterized 35 mph on the Blvd., which isn’t all that bad since the parallel-running Central Avenue offers 40 mph; the borough obviously preferring passers-through to use Central. Barnegat Avenue in both towns is 25 mph for the entire length, stay slow or say hello to a citation.

Important: Coming onto the Island, you cannot turn right onto Barnegat Avenue (the first right) due to ongoing sewer trenching work being done. Here’s hoping any tailgaters notice your vehicle slowing and signaling to make that right turn back off enough to allow you to suddenly recalibrate – to go straight.

You might notice a LBT digital sign advising that “milling” will begin on the Boulevard this coming week – when traffic signals will go to the blink cycle. I’m trying to find out if that milling marks the beginning of the desperately needed repaving of the Blvd, from Brant Beach to Beach Haven. We won’t know how to drive if that many-mil stretch is suddenly smooth as a baby road’s behind.

A note to offseason ocean swimmers and shallow-water bathers, even though the surf size has dropped down to just a couple feet – and will likely stay small for the immediate future (sorry waveriders) – there are no lifeguards. Enough said, almost. Slowly dropping water temps means the deadly hypothermia factor is also wading around out there. We just had another very bad year for drownings, the most recent was a gal lost in Wildwood while swimming with friends, proving that even the always swim with a partner concept only floats for just so long.

HOLGATE HAPPENINGS: For those not on my Facebook page, below you’ll see what I put up regarding the marsh area on the north end of town. Groups like the Holgate taxpayers and Alliance for a Living ocean fought to preserve that land. Success. Although it’s just a small piece of bayfront acreage, it serves a vital role to show kids what the Island once looked like along most of the Holgate bayside. I recall those once-upon days very well.

(Holgate, near south Beach Haven line.) A huge congrats to those who fought long and hard to keep this small piece of LBI in a pristine state. Sign is hard to read from the road, though.

As to the Forsythe Refuge, I was contacted by a couple regulars who saw some suspicious canine paw prints in the bayside sand neat the Clam Trail and also further north. It was thought they might be coywolf tracks. I did an extended look-see. There were canine tracks, but the great majority were compliments of domesticated dog being allowed to run in the closed off Refuge area. If there were any coyote tracks, I couldn’t pick them out amongst the pooch paws. Below: Coyote. 

Below: Dog 

Yes, I know the dogs shouldn’t back there – or even on the beachfront, but Chris P. with Forsythe enforcement can be only so many places at one time.

As a Forsythe volunteer, I now-and-again alert dog walkers to the fact they’re breaking the law, especially if they’re allowing Fido to run in the posted off-limits wilderness areas, but it usually falls on deaf and/or defiant ears. Things potentially far testier around the south tip toward the back-cut where boat people gather by the legionful. I’ve learned not to say a doggone thing about anything they do, much less single out their pets. Hey, there was once really cool pig pets back there. Sorry, but they were fun. In that case I surely didn’t say a word since one never knows of they were also attack-trained pigs. If you think pigs don’t bite I’ll show you a scar I got when camping in a farm in Mexico. OK, so maybe I shouldn’t have tried to ride the huge thing.

Stupid: I eat so many gummy bears if I choke to death on one I hope the obituary will be kind enough to say the cause of death was “Bears.”

Anyway, I’m getting together a collection of Holgate wildlife paw print to put in here. This fall, somewhat oddly (or is it?), I haven’t seen the usual flurry of fox tracks. I know he refuge has been trying to eliminate them for the sake of nesting birds. What are back there in huge numbers, i.e. like never before, are river otter tracks, rush-hour like. Their small footprints are almost exclusively adjacent to the bay area, which makes sense considering their favorite habitat is thereabouts. By the by, our very robust river otter population is often centered in and around outflow pipes.

Among the other tracks is a seemingly lone racoon, small possums, mink and a slew of larger rodents. Again, there are dog tracks everywhere … a couple of which could cover coyote prints. I have no doubt coyote will discover Holgate and its slews of tasty large rodents, which can be found under virtually any larger piece of wood material washed ashore.

Speaking of the back-cut area of the south tip, we had our first ugly Baja-ing incident when a truck left behind loads of sand donuts, really tearing up the place. A few of us regulars are pretty sure we know what vehicle did the dirty deed and we’re keeping a lookout for any further visits by said numbnuts. The good thing is the suspected (male) driver only did his dirty work on the small beach next to the cut, impacting boat people to the max. For those of us driving there to fish or hunt bait, it’s still very jarring due to the ruts. We haven’t had a food overwash to flatten things there.

Dealerships seems to hype a truck's donut capacity ... 

ANGLING ALERT: I was first told a surge of kingfish via this messenger from Joe. H: “Jay....little fishing report for ya. Holgate was loaded with nice kings before dark last night. Could of filled a bucket no problem. Stopped bayside around 10pm and caught everything under the sun. Weaks, stripers,  blues, herring....plus a bunch of fluke! Can't believe they are still that far back in the bay. Caught 9-10. 4 would of been keepers, one being 24"...”

Then, yesterday, a Viet Nam vet I chatted with spoke of landing a Holgate kingfish pushing 19 inches! “I thought it was a croaker at first,” he said.

Below: World record candidate kingfish taken in NC ... 

More eye opening, he also caught a spot as big as spot get. The state record is 13 ounces (2003, Robert Belsky, Jr., Little Sheepshead Creek). His Holgate beach spot easily surpassed that. Spot are super eating, though small to where they should be cooked whole to allow all the meat too be forked off the bones.

Below: This is what a larger spot looks like. I suspect we'll be seeing many f them caught once the LBI Surf Fishing Classic begins ... 

Buggying the southend remains as sinky as it gets, though sticking in existing tracks and airing down to low 20s or upper teens allows for safe passage to the end. Far back cut is only accessible at low tide.

New Jersey State Record
Saltwater Fish


Below are the current New Jersey record saltwater fish. In May, 2007, the program was revised to include Retired Categories of fish no longer included in the program, as well as Retired Historical Records. Currently there are 59 species of marine fish eligible for entry in the Record Fish Program.

In 2014 the program was again revised with the addition of the NJ Record Saltwater Fish - Spearfishing category. There are 17 species eligible for entry.

Anglers are reminded that the objective of the Record Fish Program is to increase the awareness of fishing opportunities for species that are regularly sought after and routinely found in or off the coast of New Jersey.

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.)


NOTE WELL: There was a shark bust in Holgate in this conservation officer report. I'm not sure of the officers were driving the beach or (more likely) pulled up in a soft hull vessel. I've seen a load of enforcement folks cruising the Little Egg Harbor vicinity. 

i.e. ...

On the weekend nights of July 25-26th District 8 officers conducted several land-based shark fishing patrols. Saturday night CPO Raker and Detective Harp inspected a vessel returning to the Corson's inlet ramp with three-foot sandbar shark laying on the deck. The sandbar shark, a prohibited species, was being kept by the anglers and had large knife stabbed into its head. meanwhile, CPOs Meyer and Sloan were conducting surveillance in the area of Holgate for shore side shark fishermen. Two individuals were observed catching an approximate six-foot sand tiger shark. The sand tiger, a prohibited species, was then needlessly drug high onto the beach where the individuals proceeded to take photos. CPOs Meyer and Sloan intervened in the photo session after nearly ten minutes and were able to return the shark to the water. On Sunday evening, CPOs Sloan and Tomlin conducted surveillance of shark fishermen in Cape May and made similar observations of individuals needlessly removing sandbar sharks from the water for extended periods of time. The weekend patrol resulted in multiple summonses for taking of a prohibited species and failure to register for the saltwater registry program. Additional warnings for taking of a prohibited species were issued. All cases involving the taking of prohibited shark species are forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for additional enforcement action.

CPO Merritt responded to a request for assistance from the Hopatcong Police Department, Sussex County. They advised that they had a male in custody that killed a fawn with a rock and attempted to kill another deer with the same rock. The incident was captured on video via a ring doorbell. As a result of the investigation the suspect was issued six summonses for take/kill deer without a valid hunting license, take/kill deer during closed season, take/kill deer in a manner other than prescribed by game code, wanton waste of a deer, attempt to take deer during closed season, and attempt to take deer
in a manner other than prescribed by game code. Additionally, Hopatcong Police charged him with
disorderly conduct and animal cruelty.


”The famous Italian diver Enzo Mallorca dove into the sea of ​​Syracuse and was talking to his daughter Rossana who was aboard the boat. Ready to go in, he felt something slightly hit his back.
He turned and saw a dolphin. Then he realized that the dolphin did not want to play but to express something.
The animal dove and Enzo followed.
At a depth of about 12 meters, trapped in an abandoned net, there was another dolphin. Enzo quickly asked his daughter to grab the diving knives. Soon, the two of them managed to free the dolphin, which, at the end of the ordeal, emerged, issued an "almost human cry" (describes Enzo).
(A dolphin can stay under water for up to 10 minutes, then it drowns.)
The released dolphin was helped to the surface by Enzo, Rosana and the other dolphin. That’s when the surprise came: she was pregnant!
The male circled them, and then stopped in front of Enzo, touched his cheek (like a kiss), in a gesture of gratitude and then they both swam off.
Enzo Mallorca ended his speech by saying: “Until man learns to respect and speak to the animal world, he can never know his true role on Earth." ~ Vangelis.”

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