Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Linda with a nice blowfish.

Thursday, July 05, 2012: Heavy fishing pressure in bays, inlets and the ocean. Per usual in the summer, fluke are the prime target, though many folks are hanging around structures and reefs going after seabass.
By the by, there is a highly discernable “halo” of fluke surrounding structures. In fact, some outboard folks I know scored seabass, triggers, bluefish, fluke and tog (returned) atop and adjacent to reefs. A bit of a fuel savings.

How about that fine striper taken on the north end on eel? 

I know you don’t want to hear this but I have a sinking feeling about the amount of summer flounder being recreationally taken. I don’t expect anyone to lessen their efforts at all, I just know the way management reacts to banner years – and that isn’t to say we’re anywhere near a banner year just yet. Still, we got months to go and the fishing is fine. What’s more, I’m looking at the insane number of registered vessels in NJ (2012) and the concurrent number of boat owners living and breathing fluke (saltwater survey). The poundage is gonna fly upwards. Again, for now, enjoy the fluking – and recognize that the gentle handing of undersized fluke will help assure sustainable stocks –and technically compensate for any overages this year.

HOUNDFISH BYCATHCING: Yet more large (for Jersey) houndfish are being caught. A photo of a near-four-footer hit Facebook yesterday. Some others, not nearly as large, have been caught and released locally.
Mega-versions of this oft-called “crocodile needlefish” can reach a legit 5-feet. And it sure seems that some maxxed out models are in our nape of the coast.

As I’ve oft written, these are among the more dangerous fish known. I kid you not. A few years back, more folks died or were critically injured by these spear-shaped leapers than all other marine creatures combined, including sharks and box jellies. It has to do with their fairly out-of-control feeding habit, during which they propel themselves across the surface of the water at impressive and penetrating speeds.
When surfaces-skipping houndfish run into swimming/surfing/wading/kayaking humans, there’s no easy out for either. The needle noses of the fish have been known to penetrate human eye-sockets and lethally jab into the brain. A recent houndfish incident (in the tropics) involved a heart penetration to a wading spear fisherman. A gal kayaking in Florida a couple years back was also critically injured when a skipping houndfish flew into her yak and speared her in the lungs.
Not to worry locally, though. Our visiting houndfish are mainly nighttime feeders. What’s more, there is so much forage hereabouts they seldom resort to surface-skipping to capture prey.

If I’m sounding like I’m an expert on NJ houndfish, I sorta am – though nothing to do with angling for them. For decades, I’ve done summer nighttime spotting session in bayside shallows. Those shallows, mainly toward the inlets, often offer an insane showing of both needlefish and houndfish -- all of then lying spit-still just below the surface. When hit by a spotlight, they don’t move a bit – deer in headlights, kinda.

While transfixed in a spotlight beam, needlefish/houndfish can easily be hand-touched. However, such contact sends them into a rocket phase – and casual spotlighting gets hairy in a blinding flash. A single fleeing fish will spook others -- and others and others. That can lead to a veritable explosion of houndfish and needlefish jettisoning out of the water. Just what you don’t want.

Wondering about targeting houndfish. They love glitz. Spinners, smaller spoons, poppers. No better way to stalk them than from a kayak, working shallows near sedges. Obviously, night increases your chances like crazy – though you have to be a bit crazy to lose sleep just to seek houndfish.
Yes, the can and will bite – to the point of serious bloodletting. And I have absolute proof (scar-wise) that, when handheld, they will purposely and with malice, swing around to savage the hand that holds them. Likely most of you have seen tiny needlefish do that swing-around-and-bite thing. You get hold of a 40-inch houndfish and it can be tough just letting go of it fast enough to release it -- slash-free.


HMS Enforcement gets serious:
[Fiji Times] - July 5, 2012 -

Three US Navy ships have joined the fight against illegal tuna fishing in Oceania.

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, the cruiser USS Bunker Hill and the destroyer USS Halsey have patrolled a large area northeast of Australia.

US Coast Guard Commander Mark Morin said many livelihoods were threatened by illegal fishing.

"There's about $US1.7 billion ($F3,102,755,977) annually that is lost to illegal fishing (in Oceania)," he said

While the mission to catch illegal fishers was routine to the Coast Guard, it was the first time for a US aircraft carrier to be involved.

The ships' participation marked the US Navy's biggest support so far.

Vinson jets, turboprops and helicopters flew more than five dozen sorties in the region.

The Fishermen's Memorial Fund. Raising money for the Bronze and Granite Statue, in Loving memory of Capt. Jim Mears and other fisherman that were lost at Sea from Barnegat Light. The statue will be placed at the clamshell picnic area, at the end of town, for all land and sea going folks to see. A beautiful tribute to our fishing community and the people to whom we have lost.
Checks should be made payable to, Fishermen's Memorial Fund and mailed to
P.O. Box 388, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006.

[Marine Business] - July 5, 2012 - (Opinion)

The US-based anti-fishing organisation Pew has admitted it pressured the Australian Government to lock anglers out of vast areas of the Coral Sea but would not take the same action in American waters because it would harm the US economy and disadvantage local fishermen.

The Pew comments have outraged Australian anglers, who stand to be seriously disadvantaged by federal Environment Minister Tony Burke's decision to support the American organisation's sustained anti-fishing campaign.

In a letter published in the August edition of the US-based Sport Fishing magazine, Pew director of federal fisheries policy Lee Crockett said closing American waters to fishing "wouldn't make sense - for fishing enthusiasts or the environment".

Crockett was responding to an editorial by Sport Fishing editor-in-chief Doug Olander predicting that Pew's no-fishing campaign in Australia's Coral Sea would result in similar moves to lock American anglers out of the Gulf of Mexico.

Crockett said Olander's assertion was "misleading and incorrect". He claimed the push to close the Coral Sea to all angling was supported by "hundreds of thousands of people throughout Australia and around the world - including recreational anglers".
Crockett went on to say that closing the Gulf of Mexico to fishing wouldn't make sense because these waters are a "major US economic driver".

"The Gulf offers excellent angling opportunities, and sport and commercial fishing generates billions of dollars and fresh seafood to much of the (American) nation," Crockett said.

The Pew campaign to lock-up the Coral Sea has resulted in Minister Burke proposing to ban all fishing in about 1.3 million square kilometres of water. Other closures proposed by Mr Burke include large areas off the southwest of WA and in South Australia.

The admission from Pew that it preferred to focus its lockout campaigns in non-American waters has confirmed suspicions held by local angling organisations that extremist environment groups like Pew sees Australia as an "easy target".

"These revelations back up what many Aussie anglers have been saying for a long time," a spokesman from Keep Australia Fishing, the peak activist group representing Australia's 5 million anglers, told Marine Business.

"These people working for Pew in America don't want to disadvantage their own economy - but they don't mind that happening over here. They don't want to lock American anglers out of prime fishing areas - but they are happy to have exactly that happen to Aussie fishos. Why did our Government listen to these guys?"

Pew's Lee Crockett describes in his letter to Sport Fishing as an "avid angler" and provides details of the outstanding sportfishing he has enjoyed in the Gulf of Mexico. Australian anglers will no doubt be pleased to know that Crockett will be able to continue to enjoy his fishing exploits in his home waters while anglers over here endure the lockouts he and his Pew cohorts have seemingly convinced our Government we need to have!

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