Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Monday, August 12, 2019: Grappling with what has become a highly demanding summer.
As I sift through a goodly number of fishing reports, there’s no overlooking the ongoing blowfish bite. Where I thought the puffer parade would slow down, it has actually flared up again. It is easy to nab dozens.
I was asked about “hard freezing” fish, whereby you submerge fillets into water then freeze into a solid block. I personally don’t like it, despite authorities suggesting it’s the best way to freeze up fish fillets. I guess it might work if you have a large enough freezer -- and plenty of worthy containers. I used to hard freeze fluke fillets using half-gallon milk cartoons. Took forever to thaw and didn’t seem all that different than freezing in vacuum sealed bags. However, dry freezing fillets has a short freezer life in terms of freezer burn and ice crystals forming. Hard freezing could keep fish sashimi-ready.
There have been some remarkable fluke hauls when folks find the right biomass. While hit-or-miss is a perpetual part of fishing, this year’s ocean fluking action has been unusually sketchy. When you’re off the mark, even a couple skates are a good trip. Below, see some of the catches when captains found the hot spots. Beach fluking quite down, likely due to flatties either going back into the bay -- now that it has cooled a tad -- or moving off the beach.
Cocktail bluefishing perking up, mainly on the boat front.
THERE SHE GOES; You didn’t have to be a riparian rocket scientist to have predicted the new terminal groin at the south end of the populated portion of Holgate would lead to greatly enhanced erosion to its south. It has done so with an equally predictable vengeance. Almost gone is what had been the sturdiest and widest drive-on roadway we mobile fishermen had known for decades; the sole way to access the famed fishing lands of the far south end of LBI. Just that fast, we’re back to days of cliffhanger accessibility to the state-owned beaches from the parking lot to the “Rip” at Little Egg Inlet.
By the trivial way, the roughly 2.5 miles of wilderness land at the far south end is what makes LBI 20.5 miles long, not 18 miles. The 18-miles is based on the paved roadway, aka the length of the Boulevard – which we knew as “Bay Avenue” back in the day.
As to what might be done in the next couple weeks, prior to the far end reopening after the summer bird closure, I'm hoping the township will come to the rescue. It has been very good with efforts to keep us keeping on. Time is now of the essence.
Here's the look:
SOMETHING TOUCHED MY FOOT!: How can a budding sharkologist like myself not publicly ponder a shark bump felt by a waverider in the waters off Ship Bottom. It occurred last May and was reported to the Princeton University by Paul Sykes, a 67-year-old male from
Ocean County, New Jersey:
“I was hit on my left side, around the hip area, right at the water line. I was knocked off
the board and about 3 feet across the water. I went under for just a second and came up
and saw a fin next to my board, approximately 12 inches high in the white foam. I pulled
my board to me on the attached leash, got on the board and began paddling for shore. I
did not see a fish body or the fin again.
“I was not bitten and my wetsuit was not ripped,” he reports. “I was not injured other
than today having what feels like a whiplash in my left-side neck.”
The bumpee was a former-lifeguard who was bodyboarding LBI’s waters when the subsurface something or other bulled into him.
As it stands, such a meet-up is far from unlikely. We have enough cruising sharks out there to open a shark petting farm. (Hmmm.) The hugely dominant species is the mainly harmless brown shark, also known as a sandbar shark. But would an assumed non-man-biter ram a bather that hard? Absolutely. That’s just what sharks do. They are infamous bumpers, especially whites. In fact, such nudge-and-see behavior is a daily activity for what Aussies have nicknamed the “men in gray suits” -- gray suits, for short.
The nose bump is a curiosity behavior. In some case, it can also a prelude to a subsequent munch or two, should a nastier shark’s bump-see routine elicit a reaction common to tasty prey.
Bodyboards and surfboards are an irresistible curiosity to gray suits. That curiosity has killed in some cases, with the US leading the world in shark attacks. But local bump-ins with brown sharks should be seen in a harmless light, though a second bump is instantly time for concern. It’s akin to being bumped twice by the same person on the street, i.e. “What’s your problem, dude?”
My only close-in shark interplay came years back, while surfing off, yep, Ship Bottom. On a day that already had fellow waveriders spying passing sharks, I had a brazen brown shark pass close enough to rub my right foot. I fully felt its sandpaper skin, prior to seeing it nonchalantly swim beneath me, then drop back toward the bottom. I dutifully and reflexively yelled out a warning to the dozen or so nearby waveriders, all of whom assumed a “Shark!” posture -- lying prone on the board with arms and legs held out of the water – a bit yogic in form. Such a mere glancing touch – even with my follow-up “The thing touched my foot!” – wasn’t near enough to get us out of the water, seeing the waves were exceptional.
How big was my shark visitor? At first, I pegged it at roughly 100 feet long, as it cruised beneath me. Afterwards, I downsized it a tad, to maybe six or seven feet. It was, in fact, brownish in color.
I should note that bodyboards seem to be far more likely to garner interest from gray suits, more so than surfboards. Bodyboarder’s have more body showing, including legs and lower torso. Then, there's the near-constant kicking action, missing with surfboarding. Not to be overlooked, there is nowhere to adequately hide atop a bodyboard. Some juicy piece of bodyboarder is always in the watery mix. And how about the way swimming fins match real fish fins. Curiouser and curiouser.
As harmless as passing brown sharks profess to be, one must always allow for some waggle room on the harmlessness front. I was just reading that even the assumed highly harmless sand tiger sharks, of which we’re also loaded, have been associated with attacks on humans, per the researchers in Florida who monitor shark bites around the world.
I’m now required to assure you that the odds of you being attacked by a shark -- be it bodyboarding, surfing or bathing -- are in the same zone as winning a multimillion-dollar lottery. That in tow, I’m looking up the odds of being hit by lightning while being attacked by a shark.
Successful afternoon of fishing on the Alma-D. Monday night fresh fish dinner!
(This is mainly for commercial fishermen but obviously has a trickle-down effect on angling.)
Spiny Dogfish Advisory Panel (AP) – Fishery Performance Review and Trip Limit Discussion
The Council's Spiny Dogfish AP will meet via webinar on Monday, August 19, 2019 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The meeting will examine recent fishery performance before the Council reviews specifications, and will gather input on possible modifications to the 6,000-pound federal spiny dogfish trip limit. An action to consider trip limit changes is listed in the Council’s “Possible Additions” for 2019 deliverables, and the Council is seeking input as it decides how to proceed.
Anyone interested in the spiny dogfish trip limit is encouraged to participate – there will be opportunities for input by both the Advisory Panel and the public.
Additional meeting details are available at http://www.mafmc.org/council-events/2019/spiny-dogfish-ap-aug19 or by contacting Jason Didden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 302-526-5254.
Boys in gray doing their thing... 6th time in 6 months still haven’t found any dirt. Please leave us alone !!!
After Sunday's charter - I had to get a little redemption so Jen, Luke and I headed out to fish the bottom for Sea Bass and Tog. We had a quick limit of Sea Bass (6) with Luke putting on a drop-n-reel show, and then we moved to another stop to box our limit of Tog to 8 pounds. Jen landed her 1st keeper Tog to 22 inches. Check out the choppers on the 8 pounder! MinnKota trolling motor spotlock!! #MinnKotaNation
The Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approved Addendum VI for Public Comment. Addendum VI will revise coastwide commercial and recreational regulations to address overfishing.
On Thursday, August 8, the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board (Board) of the Atlantic Stat... (ASMFC) met as part of the Annual Summer Meeting in Arlington, VA. On the agenda for the Board was to consider Draft Addendum VI for Public Comment; and to consider postponed motions from April 2019 to initiate an Amendment to the Atlantic Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan to address the needed consideration for change on the issues of fishery goals and objectives, empirical/biological/spatial reference points, management triggers, rebuilding biomass, and area-specific management.
The latter motion—initiating the Amendment to the Atlantic Striped Bass Fishery Management—was postponed once again to the Spring Meeting in May 2020 to allow time for the former motion to be addressed. This action was somewhat expected in that you don’t want to put the cart ahead of the horse, so to speak.
Regarding the former motion, the Board approved Addendum VI for Public Comment. Addendum VI will revise coastwide commercial and recreational regulations to address overfishing. This action is in response to the Atlantic Striped Bass Benchmark Stock Assessment which found that t....
As reported in the March 2019 issue of The Fisherman Magazine, “Overfishing is simply when the amount of fish being removed from the biomass is more than the number of new fish being recruited into the biomass. The second issue, the Stock Assessment Report Stated, is that the spawning stock biomass (SSB) is overfished. A stock that is overfished is when the biomass has fallen below the stock threshold. What is threshold? It is the minimum number of fish that the SSB cannot fall below without managers having to take action to rebuild the SSB back to the target level. Threshold and target are the two biological reference points (BRP) which any fishery management plan (FMP) uses to determine the health of a stock.”
Included in the approved Addendum are three options, each with a set of sub-options. They are:
Options 2 and 3 include a slate of specific management sub-options for consideration (see below), and an additional set of sub-options will be available for the public comment period which include a slot limit consisting of a harvest range with a minimum length of 30 inches and an as-to-to-be-determined maximum length. This maximum length is going to be determined by the Technical Committee and will be available prior to the public hearings. Please note that these options are for the ocean, only, and fisheries inside the Chesapeake Bay have a different set of options which can be found at ASMFC.org and will be included in the public comment.
MANAGEMENT OPTION #2
MANAGEMENT OPTION #3
Further, as part of Addendum VI, the subject of mandatory circle hooks use when using bait for striped bass was discussed, and three unique management options for their implementation are being considered. They are:
CIRCLE HOOK OPTIONS
Public Hearings on Addendum VI will be held in each state from Maine to North Carolina over the next several weeks. Stay tuned to www.TheFisherman.com for official announcement of the meeting dates, times and places as soon as they are available.
Shellbag reef created by our volunteers to help protect Mordecai Island from erosion caused wind and boat waves as well as winter ice. It also creates a habitat for all kinds of creatures including oysters, clams , crabs, fish and many others.
Capt Harvey had the Vetcraft floating over fish all day today. Boat limit and then some to go with a lot of shorts.
Lovely Saturday morning trip! 2 nice sized fluke and 2 keeper seabass. Lots of shorts caught the whole time, we had to pick through the shorts today to find the keeper. Young Zach narrowly missed winning the pool, but was eager to show us his filet skills. A young aspiring Junior mate from the charter association. Was proud to see how well a young man of his age could filet a fish. Proud of you Zach! Keep practicing, it is a skill that will stay with you for life. Thanks to everyone who joined us today! Hope to see everyone again soon!!!Miss Beach Haven
Afternoon trip showed tons of short fluke, but it was a Kingfish that wound up taking the pool in the afternoon. Well done today guys!
Yesterday afternoon was a lot more successful with one limit and a few more nice fish. This mornings catch started out good then the drift died but we managed to catch a few more keepers. Guys jigging and keeping the bait moving did better. Beautiful out there!!
A Watched Pot...
Crab pot, that is. While making a focused effort on commercial crab pot enforcement actions in the Great Bay area, Conservation Officer Harp discovered a string of commercial crab pots in a creek. It was apparent, due to the number of dead organisms inside the pots, that the crabber had not tended them routinely. CO Harp sealed the opening of the pots and after five days, verified they had not been tended. The crabber, who drove his boat right past the pots every day, paid a fine of $30 per crab pot for failing to tend the gear once every 72 hours.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds everyone that to avoid the unintentional death of marine life, regulations require that all crab pots, whether used recreationally or commercially, must be tended at least once every 72 hours. Additional requirements concerning the construction and use of non-collapsible crab pots can be found in the Marine Digest.
NOTE: It is illegal to catch or take diamondback terrapins in New Jersey. Users of non-collapsible, Chesapeake-style crab pots note: all pots set in any body of water less than 150-feet wide at mean low tide or in any manmade lagoon MUST include diamondback terrapin excluder devices. Non-collapsible, Chesapeake-style crab pots set in any body of water MUST include biodegradable panels.
Environmental officers outnumbered by complaints of poaching.
BOURNE — Matt Bass drove across the Cohasset Narrows bridge, swung hard left off Route 6 into a bait and tackle shop parking lot and doubled back toward the water. He picked his way past a ragtag assemblage of boats in a dirt parking lot, then stopped and shut off the truck’s lights.
A half-moon drifted in and out of low scudding clouds, and the bridge over the narrows ran overhead like a ceiling. It was late on a summer night Wednesday, and people were still fishing off the bridge, but Bass, a lieutenant in the Massachusetts Environmental Police, was focused on the bridge abutment.
Bass, who has been with the environmental police since 2001, is fond of saying that fish, deer and ducks don’t dial 911. He relies heavily on tips from fishermen to catch those fishing illegally for striped bass, the region’s top recreational species, pursued by tens of thousands of fishermen from Maine to North Carolina.
But he also knows his territory, the dozens of paths, dirt roads, parking lots and pullovers that give fishermen access to the Cape Cod Canal and the opportunity to do something illegal — catch too many fish, keep undersized fish or catch bass on days prohibited for commercial fishing — away from prying eyes.
Normally, Bass works alone, and during striped bass season he can be anywhere on the Cape where he believes the fish are biting and illegal fishing may be occurring.
Anticipating that a blitz of fish and fishermen might happen last weekend, he put out the word for additional officers for Sunday and a few days following. There was a lot of baitfish in the canal and he hoped that by targeting Sunday, the day before one of the two days each week open to commercial fishing, the officers might nab any commercial fishermen trying to catch and hold fish overnight to sell on Monday, when it was legal to do so.
Using two undercover officers posing as fishermen, environmental police focused their efforts on the canal, and on Sunday they seized 50 illegally caught striped bass and issued $8,000 in citations to 14 anglers.
“The violators are both recreational and commercial fishermen,” said Environmental Police Maj. Patrick Moran, who said the sheer numbers for a one-day action were incredible.
“Poachers are becoming more daring, devious and furtive, and it’s a daily struggle to figure out the newest scheme to skirt the fisheries laws,” Moran wrote in an email.
Fishing was slow Wednesday, and as Bass said, there’s no violation until a fish is landed. But later that night, at the Cohasset Narrows bridge abutment, acting on a tip from a plainclothes officer, Bass caught three men stashing undersized fish in the rocks, a favorite hiding place for poachers. The three men each received a $600 fine, a lot to pay for a 2-foot-long fish and reflective of a doubling of fines last year that many had lobbied for for years. Violators also can face up to $10,000 in fines and a 2½-year prison term for criminal violations.
But do police presence and higher fines actually work in deterring illegal fishing?
“We are few and far between,” said Bass, who is frustrated that staff limitations prevent them from getting to every call complaining of illegal activity. “I’d love to make more of an impact, but every complaint we get that goes unanswered is a sign we need more help and didn’t get the job done.”
Lou MacKeil, a longtime fisherman and vice president of the Cape Cod Salties, a recreational fishing organization, said he thought the number of fishermen targeting striped bass, particularly along the canal, was increasing, and they were not discouraged from cheating by heightened fines and sanctions.
“If they cared, or were afraid or cautious, I don’t think that (the busts Sunday) would have happened,” MacKeil said. “It’s pretty bad down there.”
It’s not just striped bass. Marcia Morse, who lives on the canal, said her family used to fish with lobster pots tied to rocks along the
Part of the problem, said Philip Coates, former director of the Division of Marine Fisheries, is the internet. People post photos and locations of where they caught fish, and others flock to that spot. The attraction of the canal is the relatively rare opportunity to catch a large fish from the shore, Coates said. He worries that illegal fishing may undercut efforts to reverse a decline in striped bass populations that resulted in quota cuts this year and more reductions next year.
“This is a major problem, the lack of enforcement because of the overwhelming number of people fishing,” Coates said. He said there needed to be more education for fishermen, especially more signs at piers and other fishing spots advertising the regulations, including size and possession limits, in several languages.
Bass and Coates said the environmental police staffing levels were still below what was recommended in a 2004 report.
“To take action on the Cape Cod Canal that will make any dent, I have to pull bodies from other areas, sort of robbing from Peter to pay Paul,” Moran wrote in an email.
“I don’t know the answer, except to keep conducting these stings,” MacKeil said.
On Wednesday, while waiting for a tip to come in from one of the plainclothes officers, Bass did what he always does: pulled over in the big parking lots along the canal and walked. He checked out fishermen loading fish into vans, sedans or SUVs. He greeted those fishing off piers and riprap, inquired how the fishing was going, and then politely asked to look in coolers, bags or other places where fish might be stowed. In one case, he knocked on the door of a house and had the fisherman show him the bass he had caught that day.
“He did it right,” Bass said, returning to his truck, noting the man was a commercial fisherman who had followed regulations and removed a pectoral fin so the fish could not be sold.
Plugging a license plate into an onboard computer brings up the vehicle owner and any past interactions with the environmental police, positive or negative. Often Bass will give out a warning to first-time offenders, hoping education will prevent a second offense.
Environmental police officers have many other duties, even during the fishing season. They generally work independently and call for help as needed. They may be patrolling in a truck one day and conducting boardings at sea the next. On Thursday, Bass thought he was headed to Martha’s Vineyard but was called to New Bedford to assist with the confiscation of sea clams that may have been harvested illegally.
“When the fishing gets really good, and a ton of complaints come in, and the pressure is on to enforce that, it’s just a fraction of what we should be doing,” he said. “We want to catch those people, but everyone gets frustrated when we don’t have enough people.”
— Follow Doug Fraser on Twitter: @dougfrasercct
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-- Gainesville fire crews were on the scene in Celebration Pointe after an accidental shooting at Bass Pro Shops.
Gainesville Fire Rescue crews treated a man after he injured himself with a firearm. GFR says the man was carrying a gun in his pocket when it accidentally discharged twice, hitting his leg both times.
The gunshots caused shoppers to hide and flee the store.
The man is in stable condition, no one else was hurt.
He did have a concealed carry permit, deputies say.
Obituary of Kurt A Horensky
Kurt Alan Horensky, 59, of Beach Haven, passed away peacefully at home on August 7, 2019 after a courageous 3-year battle with cancer.
Kurt was born in Plainfield, NJ on March 13, 1960. At an early age he started swimming competitively. It didn’t take long for Kurt to trade the pool for the ocean. While he attended grade school and high school in North Plainfield, NJ, Beach Haven was always his home.
Kurt left North Plainfield the day he graduated high school for Beach Haven, where he lived for the rest of his life. Following high school graduation, he enrolled at and completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Stockton State College.
Kurt’s life revolved around the ocean and surrounding coastal waterways of the area. He started surfing and fishing at an early age and worked as a lifeguard through high school and college. Kurt treasured his time at Stockton where he strengthened the close friendships that would continue for the rest of his life. One of his fondest memories was his semester abroad attending the University of Wollongong in NSW, Australia, where he and his American classmates took full advantage of the local surf scene. Kurt continued his surfing-based travel for many years, surfing the US east coast, Tortola, Rincon, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. He enjoyed a reputation as one of the island’s best surfers and gained national recognition from Surfer Magazine. He realized the commercial side of the sport was not for him and decided not to pursue sponsorship offers.
Following college graduation, Kurt soon realized that the corporate life wasn’t for him and chose to live and work on Long Beach Island as a carpenter. He was an exceptionally gifted finish carpenter and had the uncanny ability to deliver unique facets of architectural plans to finished products. Kurt worked many years for Dean Harkness Building Contractors LLC.
Kurt was an avid fisherman. Like many of us, the transition from surfing to fishing was a natural one. All who fished in Beach Haven knew him; he was a fixture on the beach morning, evening, and frequently at lunchtime. His fishing skills, and his surfing skills, validated how he lived as one with the ocean. While he fished offshore on occasion, he loved in-shore and surf fishing best. Kurt was an active member of the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club. Kurt was a staple at the club and volunteered much of his free time to tournament weigh-ins, carpentry repairs, and other club needs.
Kurt was also an avid reader of murder mysteries, known and loved by all at the Beach Haven Public Library. It was not uncommon for Kurt to take out a book from the library and go home and read it cover to cover in a single sitting. Kurt developed a passion for gardening and was an active member of the Beach Haven Community Garden.
Most importantly Kurt was a kind soul. Kurt would help anyone with anything. All who knew him knew that when they needed his help, he would be there ready to help you in any way. Even while he battled cancer, he would put the needs of others before his own and he never felt sorry for himself. Up until his final days he continued to spend time on the beach, in the ocean and out on the bay. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Kurt is survived by Dale Lynn Horensky (sister) and John Coyle of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, Scott Eric Horensky (brother) and Georgiann Bird of Beach Haven, New Jersey, and nephews Reed William and Dustin Edward of Beach Haven, as well as many beloved cousins. He is preceded in death by his mother Doris Mae Horensky (Messler) and his father Edward John Horensky.
A memorial paddle out will be held at 8:00 AM on Friday, August 16, 2019 on Holyoke Ave Beach Haven, NJ. A eulogy and Funeral Mass will be held at 10:45 AM on Friday, August 16, 2019 at St Thomas Aquinas Church 2nd Street Beach Haven, NJ 08008. At noon, on Friday, August 16, 2019 all are invited to attend a luncheon to honor Kurt at Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club, 420 N Pennsylvania Ave Beach Haven, NJ. Aloha/casual attire is requested.
In lieu of flowers please consider donations in Kurt’s name to his favorite charity:
Alliance for a Living Ocean, PO Box 2250 Long Beach Township, NJ 08008 www.livingocean.orgTo send flowers to the family of Kurt Horensky, please visit Tribute Store
Hi all! I need your help to make the Southern Football Fundraiser featuring the great band “Mushmouth “ a success. It’s Saturday night, August 17th 6pm to 11. Delicious food, Beer and Wine all FI $50 pp. please come in out. It will be a great night at the Stafford Fire House. PM me for tickets! Go Rams!!