jaymanntoday

Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, October 15, 2021: Sorry this blog has slacked off but the mulleting season is demanding and has gotten tough, as in time consuming, especially as it phases out.

Below: Some south end images I've captured while mullet hunting ... 

Below: Refuge gets tough on invasive species. 

Required: Overlook typos ... when I'm in a hurry, my fingers couldn't careless what keys they hit. 

ADDED: 

October 14, 2021

The NJ DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has announced that two new record fish were caught in September. The first was a sheepshead caught spearfishing and is the first record in that category for NJ. The second fish that came in was a landlocked salmon which broke a previous record.

Russ Griffin of Manahawkin made his way onto the state spearfishing record fish list by landing a new state record Sheepshead on September 20, while free diving off Long Beach Island. The fish weighed 12 pounds, 8 ounces and is the first record fish to be caught for this category. The record Sheepshead measured 26 inches in length and a girth of 22.5 inches.

Congratulations to Mr. Griffin on his magnificent catch!

Joe Satkowski Holding Landlocked Atlantic Salmon

Friday, October 15, 2021: Sorry this blog has slacked off but the mulleting season is demanding and has gotten tough, as in time consuming, especially as it phases out.

Mid-October and the ocean water temps are around 67 while the bay is near 70. Driving the beach there was no shortage of bathers, a spooky prospect with no guards.

 ISLAND GAB-ABOUTS: Along with the “turning off” of the lights from Ship Bottom South, the speeds have been hiked. I’ll offer a motoring warning from a very reliable source, that the lengthy stretch of 45 mph speed offer very little waggle room for going a above 45. If you toy with 50 or above, you’re toying with a speeding ticket. Again, there’s not much waggle room there. My advice is to set cruise control at 45 exactamundo and enjoy the ride, which is only congested on weekends.

Speaking of which, Beach Haven is still packing in visitors, from Friday through Sunday. Keeping in summer form, said visitors see crosswalks as mere paint sloshes on the roadway. The Queen City remains jaywalk central. I see why the borough had their digital signs blinking warnings to cross in the crosswalks.

This frequent sidestepping of the law means we simply have to be on our most vigilant driving behavior beginning at the north end of town, with constant crossing activity around Bay Village, followed by a 25-mph adjacent to the BH school – when kids are present. In nothing flat, you’re in the crazed parking area of Chicken or the Egg leading into mid-town and into Centre Street people surges.

Although posted as 35 mph, that can’t safely be applied on mild weekends. Take your frickin’ time. Believe me, hitting a pedestrian, even if it was the ped’s fault, ruins the day, week, and likely year to come.

The beaches of Beach Haven still get so crowded it’s madness trying to buggy on them, especially around Centre Street. Complicating the crowd scene is an all too frequent  nasty-ass attitude of many beachgoers -- expecting a summer-like rulership of the sands. You can drive by beachgoers as slow and polite as possible and still get glares and occasional mouthing off.

NOTE: Check out this SandPaper article to get the latest on the double homicide. I knew both the victims … and also the alleged killer. https://www.thesandpaper.net/articles/longtime-couple-remembered-as...

There is also an article on the proposed elimination of a fast-response US Coast Guard vessel which has been moored in Beach Haven. See https://www.thesandpaper.net/articles/coast-guard-station-seasonal-....

I had known about this move to remove the vessel for quite some time – and figured most everyone else was also aware of the cost-savings move by the brass. Apparently not. Even local mayors were shocked to hear the news when writer Gina Scala contacted them for comments. 

Coast Guard Station Seasonal Operations Up in Air | The SandPaper

This USCG proposal to essentially abandon ship in Beach Haven, and subsequently the entire south end of LBI, hits all too close to home after the recent horrible boating accident involving a local family. Had that rescue craft not been moored near the accident it would have surely taken the Barnegat Light post an hour to reach the scene. Yes, the highly qualified Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Company’s water rescue team, comprised of two personal watercraft, would have gotten there quickly but would have been hard pressed to rescue all the badly injured much less transport them back to shore.  

The federal decision to discontinue docking the USCG vessel in Beach Haven was made long before that accident but the need to have trained Coast Guard personnel near at hand on the south end during the summer is a no brainier. I have a sneaky suspicion public outcry might change the mind of decision makers at the national level. If it comes down to collecting public input, I’ll be on it and alert all y’all on how to go about being heard.

GOOD TIME USAGE: Having worked pretty much two years straight through. Pandemic and all, I hope to finally fish this year’s Classic pretty hard, something I haven’t done in many years due to those other demands. I’ll be honest and admit I like the prize money for a mere moderate-sized striper, being that’s the only size that can legally be entered. Since I’m a plugger – with some jigging thrown in -- that modest size is within my skill set. However, to really get into the competitive mix, I made up some circle hook rigs in case I resort to bait chucking.

Note: Most LBI surfcasters worth their mono recall how we used to double up hooks to on bass rigs to better hold chunks of bunker and such. No surprise, they’re technically called double hooks. Now that we must use circle hooks, I contacted a fellow in the tackle business and asked if such doubling would work with circles. Apparently not. He explained that a circle hook needs to “roll place when in a fish’s mouth.” I said, “I see” but I didn’t, fully. He felt that two circle hooks close together could prevent the proper in-mouth action that leads to a fish essentially hooking itself – always in the lip. He also made an interesting point that circle hooks can be downsized a bit since the bite of the hook, once embedded won’t be coming out. “I can’t believe guys still believe the old bait hooks hold better than circles. It just not true. That has been proven time and time again,” he said.

How to Tie 2, 3, 4... Hooks on One Fishing Line | Top fishing knot for any fishing hook - YouTube

GOOD TIME USAGE: Having worked pretty much two years straight through. Pandemic and all, I hope to finally fish this year’s Classic pretty hard, something I haven’t done in many years due to those other demands. I’ll be honest and admit I like the prize money for a mere moderate-sized striper, being that’s the only size that can legally be entered. Since I’m a plugger – with some jigging thrown in -- that modest size is within my skill set. However, to really get into the competitive mix, I made up some circle hook rigs in case I resort to bait chucking.

Note: Most LBI surfcasters worth their mono recall how we used to double up hooks to on bass rigs to better hold chunks of bunker and such. No surprise, they’re technically called double hooks. Now that we must use circle hooks, I contacted a fellow in the tackle business and asked if such doubling would work with circles. Apparently not. He explained that a circle hook needs to “roll place when in a fish’s mouth.” I said, “I see” but I didn’t, fully. He felt that two circle hooks close together could prevent the proper in-mouth action that leads to a fish essentially hooking itself – always in the lip. He also made an interesting point that circle hooks can be downsized a bit since the bite of the hook, once embedded won’t be coming out. “I can’t believe guys still believe the old bait hooks hold better than circles. It just not true. That has been proven time and time again,” he said. 

I’ll likely be going with clams. While bunker is the premier bass catcher, especially for those wanting to land and release a trophy fish, I can make a case that clams are ideal for stripers twixt 28 and 37.9999 inches.

The trick is to run clam chunks up the line. That’s the process of hooking on one clam, push it up the mono to hook on another and maybe a third, making one big ass bait. It’s going Willy Wonka – you know, the gobstopper.

Keep in mind that baits don’t have to be chucked that far out to be in striper territory. Many exceptional bassers I know talk about the way many bass anglers throw baits too far out.

Just to keep bass bait fishing interesting, I have a nice source of fresh squid I’m going to be hooking on – with possibly a dental floss assist. 

BUGGY NOTE: Holgate has issues toward the Rip, something like the 9,000-foot mark. Far end access should be kept to low tide only. Even low tide rising starts a cut-off action, meaning some serious splashing to get out before you’re stuck in place.

Don’t get caught pressing the passability envelope. Not only can that be ruinous to buggies trying to go through waves but too often has folks trying to plow through vegetation to create a get-around. Not only is that illegal but as innocent as most of the vegetation looks, it is solid enough to do dent damage, sometimes costing four-figures to fix..

As to the Holgate beach in general, stick with the main tracks, the deepest and firmest way to drive. Also, up to the 9,000-foot skinnies, all-tide fishing is a breeze. 

NOTE: Use extreme caution driving through the Holgate parking lot. It has been people-packed just about everyday.  

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Here's a piece I wrote quite a while back, recalling meeting and chatting at length with Al McReynold's. What fine man, and undeserving of what befell him after his epic catch. Though his record has since been broken, Al's 78-8 catch will always stand as the greatest striper even taken.

 Albert McReynolds' World Record Striped Bass | Men's Journal

 

 

 

Al and I really hit it off and had a sit-down after the interview. That’s when he floored me by saying that catching that world record fish was one of the worst things that ever happened to him. I recall being speechless – unheard of for me. Along with a lengthy and ugly battle for much-advertised prize money promised for breaking the striped bass world record, he was most ravaged by almost immediate accusations of his cheating, despite having a fireman witness to his catch. He talked about needing to wait until a weigh-in station opened the following morning, which somehow added suspicion.

To me, he was speaking of the same insatiably meanspirited pack of jealous anglers who jump at any chance to attack a winning fish – almost anywhere on the planet. Hell, I once brought a still-flapping 50-pound tourney fish to the Bruce and Pat scales. That fish was seen by an angler passing in a buggy, right after I hauled it up the beach, yellow Bomber plug still in its mouth. I even showed it to a police officer in the parking area as I drove it off the Holgate beach. It delivered the fish live, into Bruce Hoagland’s hands. Amazingly, by the next day, it was being said that commercial fishermen had given it to me, somehow, on a cold and windy night – still flapping … right when commercial fishermen saw me as recreational-fishing enemy of the worst ilk. Who first came up with such nonsense? The angler in the buggy who passed by me! Are you kidding me?!

Yes, the striped bass world record – NJ’s prize for decades -- has likely been broken. I’m going to start there and sidestep the insane and indubitable onslaught of doubts and accusations already being blindly shot forth by chatroom numbnuts and half-ass easy chair anglers. 

I contacted some fishing folks up in Connecticut about the 81.88-pound bass, taken by Greg Myerson, Westbrook Conn. To a person they swear it’s all real and by the book. “It’s a righteous fish,” said one shop owner, using the word “righteous” in the legal sense. It’s now in the hands of the International Game Fish Association to check the tiniest details and confirm or deny the world recordship. 

If IGFA confirms the fish, it will put an end to the long and often miserably trying reign of Al McReynolds’ 78-8 bass, taken September 21, 1982. May Myerson’s striper never cause him the horrors loosed on McReynold’s, including endless accusations of cheating and lying and fraudulently using a commercially-caught fish -- all of those utter and complete trash. Even after successfully passing polygraphs years later, Al lost his health and happiness because of his bass.  

From what I’m told, the only minor area of ambiguity with the Myerson’s boat-caught fish is a fully explainable gap between his catching of the fish and weighing it in, a 12-hour time period. 

Myerson, who has won numerous prestigious fishing awards, caught his potential record-to-be while drifting atop a “boulder” at the fairly-famed Outer Southwest Reef, off Westbrook, Conn. “There’s often big fish behind the boulder, and I always hit it on my way out to Six Mile Reef to fish for the night,” Myerson says, in an interview with Captain Paul Peluso. 

It took the angler under 30 minutes to tame, and then land the striper. Officially, it was landed at approximately 8 p.m. Myerson then forewent rushing back to port. He instead opted to fish a favorable tide at Six-Mile Reef. There, he caught a dozen more bass. By all appearances, an insane bite was at hand and even a huge bass in the cooler wasn’t keeping the angler from his appointed rounds -- though Myerson did mention he kept going back to check and recheck his massive striper.   

I’ll break away here to offer the hooking details, as I’ve accumulated them from a few sources. 

Firstly, his bait was a tad nontraditional – in a size sense. He was using massive American eels -- not the famed 6-inch bass eels we routinely employ. He is quoted as saying, “I use the giant eels nobody else uses; if something’s gonna grab it, I know it’s big.”

To handle those eating-sized eels, Myerson used a heavy-duty 6.5-foot St. Croix tuna rod, a Quantum “Cabo” reel graced with 50-lb. Berkley Gorilla Braid. No mention of hook or rigging – yet. As this evolves, everything down to what underwear Myerson was wearing will be exposed. 

Back to the hookup. It first came on as a dead weight snag-like pickup. “I couldn’t budge him at first,” said the angler. “Then he took off on a real good run, and I had to tighten the drag because he was burning line fast. He stripped about 60 yards of line against the current.”

“I noticed the line rising, and I told my buddy, ‘Watch this, the fish is going to break the surface.’ He porpoised out of the water and I got my first look at him. Oh, man, I knew I had something special then. It’s only the big stripers that will jump like that. I was just hoping the hook was stuck good.”

The fight only lasted 20 minutes, but “seemed like eternity,” Myerson says. “He kinda lost some steam and started coming back toward the boat and I was able to gain a lot of line. Then the net got stuck on the boat’s swimming platform and wouldn’t come off. The fish was ready to be netted and we were in a little bit of a panic mode for a minute. We finally freed the net and got the fish in the boat.”

I got a tiny chuckle when I heard the monster fish had an old hook in its lip and about six feet of leader trailing out its mouth. Another angler had come that close to one of the most prestigious world records known to fishing kind. (Yes, I’m jumping ahead by confirming the fish but I refuse to go the mean-spirited route that way too many perpetually doubting—and bitching – anglers go.)

I should also note that Myerson suffered badly bruised ribs, something of a war wound from the epic battle. The damage occurred as he braced his body on the gunwale while trying to net the fish. Hey, hand-hoisting 80 pounds of netted flapping fish out of the water can do a damaging number on ribs pressed against the railing.  

As to Myerson’s angling talents, a website blogs shows he was the Angler of the Year in On the Water magazine’s Striper Cup competition. What’s more, the man lives and breathes angling. “I just like to fish. I’ve been doing it most of my life,” he says. “I’ve fly-fished all over the world. I have a trout stream in my front yard, and I bought my house for that reason. I have trout that I feed pellets every morning while I’m having my coffee.”

BOEM, DOE Announce Timelines of Ongoing Offshore Wind Leases; Funding for Studies

October 14, 2021

Offshore wind areas in the New York Bight? Check. Carolina Long Bay? Check. Northern and Central California? Coming next month. Gulf of Mexico is slated for late this year or early next year.

The offshore wind steamroller will also hit the Central Atlantic, Oregon and Gulf of Maine areas between 2022 and 2023, for a total of seven areas nationwide, according to a press release from the Department of Interior.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland on Wednesday outlined an aggressive path forward for future offshore wind leasing to meet the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.

During a speech at the American Clean Power’s Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition in Boston, Mass., the Secretary announced the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management plans for lease sales by 2025.

“The Interior Department is laying out an ambitious roadmap as we advance the Administration’s plans to confront climate change, create good-paying jobs, and accelerate the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” Haaland said in the release. “This timetable provides two crucial ingredients for success: increased certainty and transparency. Together, we will meet our clean energy goals while addressing the needs of other ocean users and potentially impacted communities. We have big goals to achieve a clean energy economy and Interior is meeting the moment.”

BOEM is working on refining its process for identifying additional Wind Energy Areas (areas that may be suitable for offshore wind energy leasing). More specifically, BOEM is developing clear goals, objectives, and guidelines that can be shared with government agencies, Tribes, industry, ocean users, and others prior to identifying such areas. In addition, BOEM will use the best available science as well as knowledge from ocean users and other stakeholders to minimize conflict with existing uses and marine life.

“We are working to facilitate a pipeline of projects that will establish confidence for the offshore wind industry,” BOEM Director Amanda Lefton said in the statement. “At the same time, we want to reduce potential conflicts as much as we can while meeting the Administration’s goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. This means we will engage early and often with all stakeholders prior to identifying any new Wind Energy Areas.”

In addition to identifying new offshore wind lease sales, BOEM said it is considering innovative lease stipulations consistent with the goals and objectives of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, such as lessee reporting requirements on efforts to minimize conflicts with other ocean users; mechanisms for project labor agreements; and investments in the U.S. domestic supply chain. Such stipulations were included in the New York Bight Proposed Sale Notice announced in June of this year.

However, many fishermen remain wary. Those on the West Coast are tracking the offshore gold rush of more than a dozen projects on the East Coast. Losing access to valuable fishing grounds could mean a loss of nutritious, sustainable seafood to the public.

Haaland and BOEM were not specific on sites for the wind areas beyond certain states or regions and their descriptions of transparency and engagement with ocean stakeholders is vague. For the most part, the seafood industry's concerns are brushed aside or minimized in favor of clean energy. Unlike the transparent Regional Fishery Management Council process, there is little transparency about the BOEM behind-the-scenes decision-making process.

At the same time, the U.S. Department of Energy announced $13.5 million in funding to provide critical environmental and wildlife data to support offshore wind development. DOE is funding four projects that will inform offshore wind siting, permitting and help protect wildlife and fisheries.

“Harnessing the incredible potential that exists within offshore wind energy is an essential piece of reaching a net-zero carbon future,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a press release. “In order for Americans living in coastal areas to see the benefits of offshore wind, we must ensure that it’s done with care for the surrounding ecosystem by co-existing with fisheries and marine life – and that’s exactly what this investment will do.”

The four recipients of funding include:

  • Duke University and team, Durham, NC, to assess the risk that offshore wind development may pose to birds, bats, and marine mammals; prioritize wildlife monitoring needs; and collect biological and behavioral data at offshore wind farms on the East Coast: $7.5 million;
  • Coonamessett Farm Foundation and partners, East Falmouth, Mass., to survey changes in commercial fish and marine invertebrate populations and seafloor habitats at an offshore wind development site on the East Coast: $3.3 million;
  • Oregon State University, Newport, Ore., to conduct visual surveys and acoustic monitoring of marine mammals and seabirds to develop predictive density maps of species present in potential wind energy development areas on the West Coast: $2 million; and
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass., to develop next‐generation autonomous robotic technology for environmental monitoring of marine organisms and the seafloor at potential wind energy development areas on the West Coast: $750,000

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