Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

I’m taking a crash course on being a Nostradamus. It’s working. ...

Having fun with equilibrium ... 

Below: Just in case you were wondering ... 

(Updates later ... if needed)

Thursday, January 05, 2017: I’m taking a crash course on being a Nostradamus. It’s working. Although it’s hazy, I see pencil-thick flows of tap water in coming nights. There will also be some sort of toilet flushing regimen going on in the dark of night. I also foresee my moaning and gnashing teeth … over the frickin’ cold.

Winter is making a bitter blitz move on our area. That snow thing tonight, helped along by null winds, will pale by frigid comparison to some low temps we’ll see late this weekend and into early next week … before temps do a dang decent recovery.

It’s times likes these that I resurrect the old baymens’ belief that a healthy year ‘round bay must have a couple/few solid bone-chillings in the winter. Such plunges in water temps allegedly kill off – or at least reduce -- the bad in-water stuff, like potentially harmful microorganisms. A couple pro crabbers I know agree that cooldowns, though not deep freezes, lead to better blue claw harvests the following summer. I think more in terms of freezing out invasive species, like certain jellyfish.

All that said, cold sucks regardless of its health benefits for bays and such. Congrats to George and Laura for flying south in the nick of time.

SAVE THE PELICAN?: I Facebooked: “Does anyone have any contacts with Parks or avian groups that might know how to "rescue" this pelican? The lake will freeze solid over the next four or five days. I have to think this wayward, warmth-inclined bird might be a dead duck if not given a helping hand.”

Below: A remarkable Knutsen shot. 

While the lake might not freeze solid, there will be very little forage potential. Then there are the single-digit ambient night temps. A white pelican is not built for those.

A fellow named Alex suggested, “Let nature run its course. If it dies something else has something to eat.” I can’t think like that. I’m always for the underdog … or underbird in this case. I especially get attached after photos and firsthand looks brings a bird like this closer to home. And, yes, there are many cases where a wayward bird gets in way over its head … and pays the hard way.

The response on Facebook is pretty intense. You can look at it at “tuckerton, nj - best little forgotten town at the jersey shore.”

EVEN BRIDGES: As you're driving over the Cuaseway onto LBI, the entire northern half of the Island could be gone but you wouldn't know it. I'm talking about the way the old Big Bridge is higher than the newly completed Big Bridge II. The view to the north is mainly rusty beams showing through a not-so-attractive tint of green paint. 

Anyway, not to worry. The NJDOT assures the bridges will jibe, height-wise, in the end, which is still many moons off.

A quick remention that the north side of the trestle bridge closest LBI, i.e. the Hochstrasser bridge, has a very low fishablity due to metal beams adjacent to the bridge. I was again asked, over my vacation, if the state would be setting off that area for fishing, as was in the project plans. Yes, it's in the plans. No, the current set-up, though hosting metal barriers from flying-by traffic, would not be fishing friendly.  

Gary Caputi
To all my friends and followers, I rarely ask for anything, but please click the link and sign this petition. Politicians and fishery managers have to know how many of us have had it with the way they are destroying fluke fishing. Bad recreational landing data, making judgments on snapshots of stock assessment data that has little basis in reality. Save fluke fishing and help start making a change to the management system.

Tom Trageser to Save fluke fishing

Petition to reject the MAMFC proposal. This should make it easier for everyone to sign.



{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}Keith Thomas to Black Talon Plugs

I will have some gliders that have no hand carved gills. 

They weigh 3oz . Same profile as the others just moved the weight around and added just a touch more for the strongest of currents. 
All Sinisters will swim with a tail kick action. 
Its as close as you can get to a real bait fish swimming in a glider style plug.

I've been making gliders and swimbaits for years, just never released any to the public.
So I'm pretty excited to see what everyone can do with these unique plugs.


Extremely Rare Whale Washes Up Dead on New Jersey Beach

The specimen is only the second of its kind seen on NJ beaches in a generation

Marine Mammal Stranding Center

A Blainesville's beaked whale washed up dead on a New Jersey beach, only the second time in a generation the extremely rare specimen has been seen on the region's shores.

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center reported Wednesday that the 15-foot male weighed roughly 800 pounds when it was found at Island Beach State Park. It was already decomposing when found, so it was not clear when the animal actually died. 

The last time this particular type of whale washed up in the state was 1989. Part of that animal is in the center's museum in Brigantine.

According to the conservation charity WDC, the whale is known for a beak that resembles a dolphin's, and prefers deeper, tropical waters. 


First Bluefin Tuna of the New Year Sells for $632, 000 at Annual Tsukiji Auction

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [NBC News] - January 5, 2017
TOKYO — A sushi chain boss paid $632,000 for a 466-pound bluefin tuna at auction on Thursday.
The 74.2 million yen winning bid for the prized but imperiled species was the second highest ever after a record 155.4 million yen bid in 2013 at the annual New Year auction at the famed Tsukiji market.
Kiyomura Corp. owner Kiyoshi Kimura posed, beaming, with the gleaming, man-sized fish, which was caught off the coast of northern Japan's Aomori prefecture.
His company, which runs the Sushi Zanmai chain, often wins the auction. This year's purchase works out to $1,356 per pound.
Japanese are the biggest consumers of the torpedo-shaped bluefin tuna, and surging consumption of sushi has boosted demand, as experts warn the species could go extinct.
A report by the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean last year put the population of bluefin tuna at 2.6 percent of its "unfished" size, down from an earlier assessment of 4.2 percent.
The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission tightened international limits in 2015 as the species remained under threat, halving the catch of bluefin tuna under 30 kilograms (66 pounds) from the average caught between 2002 and 2004.
But overfishing has continued and in some areas bluefin are harvested at triple the levels considered sustainable.
"This tuna is being fished at rates up to three times higher than scientists say is sustainable," Amanda Nickson, director of global tuna conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts said in a recent report.
Pew and a dozen other environmental groups have called for a two-year moratorium on commercial fishing of the species.
Thursday's event is expected to be the last New Year's auction at the world's biggest fish market.
It was supposed to be relocated last November to make way for a road needed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but was delayed due to environmental concerns.

Careful Ocean Planning Needed to Solve Fishing - Wind Farm Battles

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Star-Ledger] [OPINION] by Tim Dillingham - January 5, 2017

Tim Dillingham is the executive director of the American Littoral Society, a coastal conservation organization based in Highlands, NJ.

Conflict is looming just beyond the horizon on the high seas off New York and New Jersey - and it doesn't bode well for our appetite for fish at the dinner table.

As reported in The Star-Ledger on Dec. 9, "Commercial fishing companies, trade groups and seaport communities in four states (recently) asked a court to stop the federal government from auctioning off the rights to develop an offshore wind farm" in the Atlantic Ocean.

Will fighting clean-energy wind mills become a quixotic effort from the commercial fishing industry? This shouldn't even be a question if there was proper planning.

Competing interests for use of increasingly crowded ocean space can be expected to come into conflict more frequently. Demands for each continue to increase in a nation that has turned to seafood as a larger part of its diet, but which also seeks solutions to the pending climate crisis in alternative energy generation.

The groups filing the action assert that the siting of a wind farm in this area will negatively impact their use of the area for fishing, and that the federal agency in charge failed to consider that impact adequately. Additionally, they argued the development will impact important fish habitats, fundamental to the health of the marine species the fishermen depend on.

The desire by anglers to keep this ocean space open and free of industrial-energy development faces off against growing desires to install renewable-energy facilities in ocean waters, partially as a technique to mitigate the climate impacts of fossil-fuel burning.

Though the fishermen agreed to back off their demand to prevent the lease sale, the underlying conflict and litigation have just been kicked down the road. The lawsuit is still pending.

The federal arm overseeing ocean space and uses, the National Ocean Council, approved a draft action plan to help settle conflicts like these. The core of the plan recommends the use of newly generated scientific evaluations to coordinate governmental decisions to protect ecologically rich areas, advances new sustainable uses of ocean space - such as offshore wind - and minimizes conflicts between "stakeholders" like commercial fishermen and energy developers. The plan is supported by both New York and New Jersey state governments and the broad range of federal agencies that have responsibility for implementing it.

The conflict in the New York waters is something of a case of the cart getting out ahead of the horse. Despite the considerable investment of time and energy in advancing ocean planning for the specific purposes of protecting the resources, marine habitats and both new and traditional uses of ocean spaces, other efforts - such as the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's leasing of offshore wind sites - have gotten out ahead of the planning.

So the very conflicts ocean planning is intended to reduce are coming into stark relief as real-life examples of why the effort is timely and necessary.

To be effective, planning needs to precede regulatory and management decisions.

Two recent relevant examples bear this out: Off Cape Cod, the Cape Wind Project attempted to proceed without the benefit of ocean planning, robust alternatives analyses and early stakeholder input. The project ended in disaster, tied up in litigation and conflict for almost 11 years and never built.

The Block Island Wind Project, in contrast, was preceded by a rigorous, scientifically guided evaluation of siting that engaged fishermen, tribal nations, nearby landowners and local governments. It is now in the water, preparing to deliver renewable energy power to Rhode Island.

The mid-Atlantic, and indeed the nation, has a strong interest in tackling the competing demands for ocean space head on through the ocean-planning process. This would ground planning and decision-making in science, involve the communities and businesses affected, and ensure that the protection of the natural resources and ecological health of the oceans is paramount.

The alternative is many more lawsuits by fishermen, offshore wind developers, environmentalists and shore-side communities. And no one wins in that game.

Tim Dillingham is the executive director of the American Littoral Society, a coastal conservation organization based in Highlands.


One Solution to Invasive Fish - Eat Them

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SF Chronicle] by Tara Duggan - January 5, 2017 

Justine Burt calls herself “borderline vegetarian.” The Palo Alto resident makes an exception for lionfish, which she first tried during a community service trip to Belize, where the invasive species has taken over barrier reef habitats.

“I don’t normally eat sentient creatures, but this one needs to be eaten,” she said. “Because it’s really destroying life down there.”

It didn’t hurt that the fish tastes light, flaky and buttery. Thanks to Burt’s year-and-a-half campaign since returning from that trip, lionfish achieved “Best Choice” status from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, which helps consumers make more sustainable food choices, and is available by special order from Whole Foods. At Fish restaurant in Sausalito, executive chef Douglas Bernstein recently began bringing in another invasive species, Asian carp, from the Mississippi River Basin to serve in fish tacos.

New to the region, the two species are part of a growing sustainable seafood movement that unites Caribbean divers and Kentucky fishers with Bay Area diners through a simple idea: Eat invasive fish to help eradicate them.

Asian carp is the generic name for four species of fish that originally were brought from Asia decades ago to filter aquaculture ponds in Arkansas. Lionfish arrived around the same time from its native Indo-Pacific region as an aquarium pet. In a scene seemingly out of “Finding Nemo,” the fish either escaped or were released into local waterways: the carp into the Mississippi River Basin and the lionfish into the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. With staggering rates of reproduction and no natural predators, each has taken over its adopted habitat, devouring native fish and plant life.

Creating a viable market for these invasive fish is one sure way of removing at least some of them from the environment. Both Asian carp and lionfish have been on menus in the East Coast for several years, via purveyors like Norman’s Lionfish who are closer to the source, but they’re new to the Bay Area.

“During the winter we usually have a hard time finding a lot of finfish to keep the menu diverse. This is a perfect plug-in for our fish tacos,” said Bernstein of Asian carp. The pink, meaty fish almost tastes like tuna but has a flaky, tender texture. He goes through about 400 pounds of it a week.

The Bay Area has plenty of invasive marine species of its own, brought in by container ships, but they aren’t good to eat. For example, the overbite clam has colonized the San Francisco Bay and Delta, consuming more than its share of phytoplankton and filtering pollutants — not what you’d want to put on your pasta.

But lionfish and Asian carp are another story. Fisher Ronnie Hopkins, who lives in Ledbetter, KY, has been catching Asian carp in local lakes and rivers since the 1980s, when he saw how the fish, which originally escaped into Southern waterways during flooding, began crowding out the native species that his father and grandfather caught for a living.

“I seen how fast these things were going to grow and how good they were to eat,” said Hopkins, 66, in a growly Kentucky drawl. “I started fighting to build a market for them.”

He originally shipped them to Asia, and then his market grew to New York, California and Chicago. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has encouraged fishers like him by helping establish three new local processing plants for Asian carp in 2015, which led to the harvest of 1.2 million pounds of it that year.

Bighead carp, one type of Asian carp, is already found in 23 states, while silver carp has been found in the waters of 17 states, according to the National Wildlife Federation, which monitors the invasive species’ steady movement toward the Great Lakes. There are some electrical barriers to try to keep the carp from entering the lakes via the Chicago water system, but the organization has proposed creating physical barriers that it says are more effective.

Marc Smith, policy director for the National Wildlife Federation, said preventing the fish from entering new environments is more of a priority than encouraging fishing.

“You’re never going to fish them down to extinction,” he said. “We think it’s fine for states to encourage fishing them. We just don’t think a lot of money should be going to that.”

Yet with so many types of protein problematic from a sustainability standpoint, it can be a boon for a seafood purveyor to find a product whose consumption has a positive impact, rather than a negative one, on the environment.

One lionfish, for example, can produce 2 million eggs a year. Scientists believe they were originally released into the Western Atlantic by pet owners, and it didn’t take long for them to begin eating up the phytoplankton native fish depend on — and the native fish, too.

The downside to serving lionfish is its venomous spines, which resemble billowing red and white feathers underwater. The spines do not cause the fish to be unsafe to eat — and are removed when you buy lionfish at the store — but can cause severe pain and swelling.

“We brought it in whole once and my fishmonger got stung,” said Bernstein, who had to send him home and finish the job himself, very slowly. Ultimately, that made it too cost-prohibitive to serve on a regular basis, which is a shame, Bernstein said. (However, it’s relatively affordable at Whole Foods, at $11.99 a pound for whole cleaned fish.)

Lionfish is “one of the most amazingly delicious fish I’ve tried,” said Bernstein, describing it as clean and sweet, perfect for ceviche. “I wish I could have it on the menu every day.”

Asian carp, though very bony and also difficult to clean, costs less and is more reliable. But it could take a while for it to be fully accepted. When Susan Lindsay of Corte Madera came into Fish for tacos on a recent December day, she said the Asian carp tasted great, but she wasn’t sure about the name.

“Carp sounds like garbage fish,” she said.

Hopkins points out Asian carp is not a bottom feeder like common carp. But he understands the attitude. After all, the fish did kind of come out of nowhere.

“They’re clean. They’re freshwater fish. They’re all-natural. They’ve got everything going for them,” he said. “It’s just getting the public to try something new.”


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