Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
The Fish Story
Water temps have taken advantage of the offshore and land/sea breezes. In one day, the suds went from the goosebumpish 50s into the ain’t-bad 70s. By week’s end, solar heating could kick the surf temps into the upper 70s.
Yes, there is the written-about matter of our trading air-conditioning south winds for wicked hot westerlies (see last week’s column), but we’ve been able to rate both scenarios over the past couple weeks. Now you can better decide. Let me know and I’ll put an order in for whichever wind setup the majority wants for the remainder of the summer. I got contacts at the Weather Service.
As for the fish response to the heat, see Rundown below.
HOW DRY I AM: I’ve got to get through this heat wave in as hydrated a state as possible – doctor’s orders.
I’m herein addressing the many summer outside activists who are compelled to go balls out, even when sweating off same.
Did you know that surfers and other waveriders can suffer acute dehydration, even when in the water?
In a recent two-week span, I experienced two crippling heat-induced dehydrations, thanks to my own idiotic overdoing it. Heat waves and a hyperactivity disorder do not play well together. I went way beyond my grandmother’s warning symptom of “spittin’ cotton.”
In one heat stroke-ish instance, I came within a couple drips of a critically dehydrated state, i.e. ER-worthy. I reached the perilous point where no amount of consumable fluids could match the deficit.
Having your body run dry is a hideous feeling: nausea, dizziness, headache, weakness, wobbliness and confusion (more than usual, that is). Oddly, thirst is not a biggie by the time the other symptoms kick in.
Making critically dehydrated matters worse, there is no one-gulp cure. It took hours, even days, to run perilously low on body fluid. It therefore takes a ton of time to fully reabsorb fluids – unless you’ve gone big-time dry and need bag after bag of instant intravenous support. I came so close I could all but feel the hypodermic needle going in.
Post-dehydration is no bargain, either.
For three days after one of my parched episodes, my body dutifully re-plumped with fluid but I continued to mope around like a dusty hound under a Georgia sun. I would have given anything for a creaky front porch to climb under until fall.
But, no. Instead, a mere week later, I decided to do a daylong, sand court, volleyball tournament – beneath a now fiercely vindictive sun: “Didn’t I kick the crap out of you last week, buddy?!”
By tourney’s end – and in a state of sheer regret and self-pity – I soon added seeing double and speaking in tongues to my previously noted heat dehydration symptoms. It was the first time my body ever yelled – in front of everyone, much less: “I hate you and never want to see you again!”
Anyway, take it from me: take it easy in the torridity.
By the by, it’s not just bodily moisture you need to increasingly replace in the heat – though good-old, straight-up H2O is the greatest stuff known for a hyper-heated body. When dumbly dehydrating, also think in terms of salt and electrolyte replacement.
When I was at the height of my first collapse, Gatorade and a small bag of salty potato chips worked absolute wonders. A coolish bath then brought me out of my Code Red state.
First and foremost, you simply cannot allow yourself to get to that desiccated and discombobulated bodily state. The best bet is to avoid the company of mad dogs, Englishmen and yours truly.
SAND CRABS: I once again have concerned folks asking me about the health and welfare of sand crabs during replenishment. One young lad timidly asked me, “Will they die?”
I sympathetically looked him in eye and said, “Are you outta you’re frickin’ little, undeveloped mind?! What, you want houses to be destroyed and people to die because we have no beaches because you’re worried about some dumbass, dime-a-dozen crustaceans that have survived just fine since the frickin’ beginning of time so you can catch them and stupidly throw them into a bucket of water where they’ll come swimming up to the surface gasping for air then drown and lay there all gooey on the bottom of your ratty red plastic bucket so you can run crying to mommy that your little sand crab friends aren’t moving anymore and you don’t know why!? Well, I’ll tell you why they’re not moving! You murdered the damn things because you’re too dumb to know that beaches are more important than you being able to kill defenseless forms of marine life! And quit your stinkin’ crying!”
Oh, stop it. I’m not serious. (He was only whimpering.)
As for the long-term impacts of beach replenishment on sand crabs, it was, admittedly, an early-on concern. However, the re-showing of mole crabs – technical name for sand crabs – after the replenishment sands have settled, has been remarkable. In fact, the new sands, likely rich in nutrients, seem to soon spark a bit of a sand crab explosion. In turn, they serve as a vital foodstuff for stripers, kingfish, croakers, spot and fluke. They might even be called sand carbs.
See, kid, the sand crabs are just fine. You little whiner.
SURFSIDE DEBRIS WATCH: Not that it has been a huge problem, but surfcasters should watch for any submerged, long-lingering Sandy debris. Some fencing came up in Beach Haven over the weekend.
If you hook into debris while surfcasting, haul it in – if possible. If it’s too big to get in, stay hooked to it and notify authorities, via lifeguards, police or town halls. Getting any big stuff out of the surfline makes life safer for bathers.
If you drag in some minor piece of storm debris, just dispose of it next to a nearby beach trashcan – so public works can get a look at it.
The most common “serious” debris hookup in the surf would be disenfranchised pieces of dune fencing, especially the tie wire. Those fence balls can be large. Fortunately, they’re most common immediately after storms.
I’ll re-note that we’ve had an amazingly low number of debris reports in the summer surf. If you had seen the debris wash-ups right after Sandy, you’d better understand that “amazingly” angle. Hell, we had amusement rides from Seaside Heights washing ashore.
EASEMENT INSIGHTS: The N.J. Supreme Court has essentially ruled in favor of Harvey Cedars in the growingly famous case of beachfront homeowners versus the borough. It has been dubbed “the ocean view case.”
The lower court had favored the landowners, the Karans, after a judge refused to allow testimony regarding how beach replenishment and dune building protects all residents of an oceanfront community.
The Karans were tentatively awarded $375,000 for the loss of 20 percent of their oceanfront view. No telling what the award might have been if the entire Karan frontage had been blocked.
The Karans were a mere superstorm away from collecting their comely winnings, post lawyer’s take. I’ve been told there would have been very little chance of the Supreme Court overturning the Karans award/decision had Sandy not struck. But she did. Ironically, the Karans suffered no property damage from the storm but she surely cost them a pretty penny.
Now the case reverts back to Toms River for what amounts to a retrial. It will apparently be reheard by the same judge as the first go-round. This time, he has been ordered to allow evidence of the social, commercial and public welfare benefits of big beaches and dunes.
If the case is heard in the same format as the original, it could get complex, even weird.
Believe it or not, the judge might still find in favor of the Karans – not likely, but maybe. No big deal – though I’m guessing the judge might garner a few glares from the already irked court of public opinion. It will still come down to fair compensation, as decided by a jury.
Even if the court favors the borough, it will still likely trickle down to compensation amounts, if any. A few years ago, Harvey Cedars had offered the oceanfront homeowners $300 shortly after applying eminent domain to use part of their property for public benefit.
A massive legal question could arise over a just compensation.
The borough will surely allege that the property value gained from dune protection easily neutralizes any monetary loss from reduced ocean view.
Now, let me make some enemies.
There has to be some compensation.
I’m among many folks who aren’t sold on merely token compensation for eminent domain cases.
It’s just plain spooky to give free reign to eminent domain. Eminent domain is some nasty, un-American s***. Laughably low, stipend-esque compensation for valuable Jersey shore land could open Pandora’s floodgates, freeing similar governmental-taking tactics around the state.
I know this sounds protestish on my part but believe me, my fellow Americans, you don’t want the eminent domain cobra lurking nearby, especially when intertwined with the concept of “the welfare of the many.” The “many,” once loosed, could grab everything you frickin’ own.
Admittedly, that “welfare” concept is spot-on hereabouts, as we all need the protection of beaches and dunes. I’m just sayin’ there always has been some constitutional carefulness – and fair compensation consideration – when taking any land.
BUGGYING WAYS: With the extended fluking season, I have to think that this September will see not only amazing boat fluking but epic beachfront fishing for flatties. Fluking will light up our beach buggying world. And we could use some light, as we closely watch to see the status of the Holgate far south end.
Holgate ain’t lookin’ overly good at this point, so we’ll just have to wait until the scheduled reopening time (end of August) draws near to see what’s what for buggying the beloved far south end.
Although you still cannot buy buggy permits in municipalities, like Long Beach Township, I optimistically see a goodly chunk of post-Sandy LBI being ready and drivable by summer’s end, though Beach Haven south is massively iffy (see below).
Recent re-replenishings have added a massive chunk of new sand into the Island’s beach system, primarily south of Harvey Cedars. A recurring theme of beach replenishment is the utilization of the new beaches by all user groups. We should be welcomed on fat and widened beaches.
The Island’s beachfront has been getting the benefits on sands drifting southward from mid-Island replenishment efforts. A goodly chunk of Long Beach Township, from Brant Beach southward – as far away as Nebraska Avenue – has fattened on littoral drift sands.
Admittedly, the front beaches of Beach Haven and Holgate proper (Beach Haven Inlet) will be a huge question mark come fall buggying season.
BH’s public works guru will help make the final determination of buggying on the beaches in the Queen City. He knows his borough’s beaches inside out, literally, having arranged them since Sandy. Although he’s one of us (fervid angler), if he says the beaches just can’t take the strain, that’s all he wrote. Upside: Replenishment sands could be reaching Beach Haven by as early as next spring, so, in that vein, the future looks brighter than, say, this coming fall.
As for Holgate proper, the coming month – when beaches can build during summer calmness – will tell.
The opening of LBI beaches for buggying is around mid-September. Holgate Wilderness Area traditionally opens around Sept. 1.
I will get word out about buggy permits in this column and at jaymanntoday.ning.com (or Google “jay mann”).
RUNDOWN: This penetrating heat could impact the bayside fluke. I’ve oft seen escalating bay water temperatures drive flatties toward inlets, where they hug the convergence line – where ocean and bay waters mix.
The bay scald, capable of driving water temps to well over 80 degrees, also drives other mobile bay denizens into holes and deeper channels. One might think angling would then be like shooting ducks in a barrel. Not so. The congestion of many species in the cooler bottom water is very stressful. Even gamefish, like weakies, have to know they’re sitting ducks for any suddenly arriving blues and sharks. In turn, smaller fish eye the weakies with dread. Most stressful of all, lowering oxygen levels spike a fear of suffocation for all holed up species.
Relatively unaffected by the simmering summer bay waters are the likes of blue crabs, consummate survivors. In fact, hand crabbing from a boat is a fun way to handle the scorch – except during high sun. Just keep sunscreen and bug spray at the instant ready.
Weakfishing is occasionally decent, though not at last’s year’s torrid levels. Making things tougher is the daytime heat, when weaks shut down. That opens the sunset and after-dark doors to after-hours fishing for sparklers. In fact, sparklers can get very aggressive after holing up for a long, hot day.
Along with small plugs (chrome-colored work well), night weakfish will hit just about anything plastic (on jigheads), especially smallish chub tails in white, chartreuse or pink.
I often use pickerel spinners, Mepp’s and such, to play with smaller model night weaks.
As to where to fish for night weakies, virtually any bayside street end with deeper water within casting distance has a quota of sparklers. Add some overhead lighting and you could be into them deep.
Remember that weakfish aren’t all that rugged, when compared to bass and blues. They need to be held, unhooked and released gently – and in short order. Keep a dehooker handy since they can often inhale plugs and jigheads.
Fluking is what it is. Some days hot, others days lukewarm, further days all small stuff, followed by sessions with copious keepers.
Successful fluking is often based on the time you can put into it. No other local gamefish requires such a close read on where the bite is from day to day. Those able to seek flatties on a daily basis are most inclined to pick up on those complex fluke bite patterns. I think that is why there is such a tendency for now-and-then flukers to seek out the pack – looking for where the flotilla is headed on a given day. Somebody might know something. And, yes, the headboat and charter boat captains have gotten to where they are, i.e. captains, by being able to faithfully follow the fluke, the money fish for the sometimes lucrative summer season.
Bluefishing is fair, with some typical summer flare-ups near the inlets, especially around the entrance to Barnegat Inlet. Per usual, they’re not always targetable but when you’re on them they offer a steady slashing action, even for hours on end. As I oft note, you can test for blues by dropping a jig with a trailing plastic. When the jig comes up tailless, you know the Jersey piranhas are lurking below.
Choppers are hanging way outside. Check charters and headboats for night trips.
Kingfishing is above average, numbers-wise. Size is also running above average. The surf is holding them, usually out about 20 to 30 yards, though they do mosey in very close to the swash.
Kingfish are very spot-specific, often found in thick feeding batches. I’m not calling them schools because each fish is actually a fairly independent feeder in the summer. While snorkeling, I’ve often seen them spread widely over the bottom. However, they quickly bunch up when a prime feeding spot opens up. Picture them like sea gulls when word of a food source gets out. How do the kingfish know a dinner bell has been rung somewhere in the distance? Who knows how any (and all) fish species know that. But they do.
Target kingfish using (oddly enough) kingfish rigs, coupled with bank or cushion sinkers. Don’t pin the rig to the bottom. Cast pretty far out and literally explore for feeding zones, via slow retrieves. Again, once you’re on them, it’s go time. Keep just the jumbos.
Tip: kingfish are a bit odd in the way they often rush toward shore when first hooked. After an initial slack time on the line, they fight like all get-out in the swash.
Blowfishing has been utterly phenomenal for bayside boat fishermen anchoring up and loosing enough chum to get the tight schools up to the boat. Top-rate blowfishing does take some chumming know-how but virtually any tackle shop can give you a primer on how to bring blowfish, kingfish and maybe even triggerfish (near Barnegat Inlet) up to the boat. Remember to bring some light gear along if you might go with blowfishing. I enjoy bobbering, though working a Sabiki rig can be a blast. Please keep just the jumbo blowfish.