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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Monday, December 06, 2021: Here’s to those who ....

Monday, December 06, 2021: Here’s to those who will enter 2022 vaccinated to the nth degree, hopefully not undergoing the 3rd degree, booster-wise.

This roundaboutly leads into the unfairness of going gonzo on those folks who have chosen to travel the road less inoculated, as in going fully uninoculated.

As a calm-me-down to those angrily sporting COVID antigens of a vaccine ilk, it might be prudent to recognize that vaccine foregoers represent an essential component of any legitimate trial. They serve as a control group.

In the future, researchers might very well be scrambling to glean essential data from the unvaccinated. It could be in a we-warned-you vein or to feverishly ferret out some piece of genetic data needed to fight off future illnesses … or variants.  

I realize this is quite a COVIDized start to this column, but it’s done in hopes of readying for a 2022 calm down, highlighted by the subsiding of hostility that has seemingly been one of the more pervasive symptoms of this pandemic, often as damaging as the disease itself.

Backtracking, this bit stems from a nasty vax v. unvaxxed verbal exchange I overheard at a place generally accepted as hallowed ground. No, not church. I’m talking about Tractor Supply. 

TWENTY MORE: A few weeks back I offered a 20-day weather outlook based, in part, on a new app, which was pretty much a compilation of other top apps having to do with upper air patterns and such. Well, that 20-day prognostication for uneventful weather marked by normal temps with possible interludes of above normal temps was spot on. I give all the credit to the sky above.

Buttressed by that success -- and once again examining upcoming upper-level wind patterns coupled with the strengthening effects of La Nina --  I see some interestingly uneventful non Arctic weather indicators for the next 20-day stint. That’ll bring us flush to Christmas.

White Christmas-ites and a battalion of independent snow plowers will not like what seems a high probability that nothing major, wet or white, is on the horizon, short of a chilly sky fuss this midweek. What’s more, we’ll see low-impact cold fronts and mildish warm fronts, both of them able to unloose spritzes and scattered downpours, just nothing like the famed Dec. 11, 1992, nor’easter, which came ashore for a three-day stay, bearing 80-mph winds. It went full-blown blizzard on more distant mainland areas.

And, yes, Virginia, some forecasts see snow on Christmas eve – while I see the possibility of a balmy holiday if a bubble of Gulf air makes it up this far.

Overall, we will remain seasonable, with highs in the 40s and lows not dropping far below freezing. I’m banking on it. Since I have a frequent need for my outside hose, I’m leaving the outside water on. Local folks know what that risk is all about. Even temps just below freezing shouldn’t pose a problem for my weather-hardened outside fixtures. I always have my buddy Jack T if plumbing things get testy.

Should any red flags suddenly show on my weather software apps, I’ll get word out ASAP. Again, I just don’t see anything flabbergasting. 

NWS Analysis and forecast

The water temperature today is slightly lower than the average on this day in recent years. Its value has rises over the last week, but has drop compared to 20 days ago. Exactly a year ago, on this day, the water temperature in this location was 53°F. Water temperature range in Atlantic City In December is from 39 to 55 degrees.

According to our forecast, in the coming days, the water temperature value in Atlantic City will slightly drop and in 10 days it will be 44°F.

Table of water temperature values in Atlantic City

Day

Fact*

Average**

Forecast***

 

Nov 30

47°F

50°F

Dec 1

46°F

51°F

Dec 2

48°F

51°F

Dec 3

49°F

52°F

Dec 4

48°F

51°F

Dec 5

48°F

50°F

Dec 6

32°F

50°F

Dec 7

47°F

50°F

Dec 8

50°F

47°F

Dec 9

49°F

47°F

Dec 10

49°F

46°F

Dec 11

49°F

46°F

Dec 12

49°F

46°F

Dec 13

47°F

46°F

Dec 14

47°F

44°F

 

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RUNDOWN: The bass beat goes on, with water temps roughly 44 to 47 degrees, depending on which type infrared thermometer you own.  Such waters are ideal for stripers, though more so for friskier schoolies. While we’ve had a fall straight from Mildsville, this time last year the ocean was still in the 50s, with a reading of 53 taken on LBI in December.

Not sure what to make of the chopper bluefish being caught by boat anglers not all that far out at sea. Why in bloody hell they’re still not passing flush to the Jersey shoreline remains a baffler. One has to wonder if climate change is truly a major player or might it be a cyclical thing. Of import, even the choppers being taken by boat fishermen are sporadic and far from targetable.

A mention should be made of the occasional windowpane flounder, once a very regular little biter in the spring and fall. No real studies of this thin somewhat see-through flatfish have ever been done. Odds are it is suffering the fade-away fate of other also-swam flatfish, being swallowed up by humanly preferred species.

Togging has been killer when weather allows trips to structures. The blackfish surely had a good summer/fall fattening.

Fond lookback memories of Kurt H ... fall, about this time, maybe five years back  

BACK BLACK ATTACK: I got a touchy feelie email response from last week’s segment on spiders -- and the overall bad-rap spiders get when it comes to biting humans, which arachnids abhor since resorting to biting means they’re in a serious predicament in their own right.

The email did not speak all that badly of the eight-leggers but related a tell-tale tale of the writer being bitten by one of the only two NJ spiders you don’t want to, in this case, befall you.

“I had a black widow put me in the emergency room,” wrote the gentleman who lives a couple counties north of us.

(ABOVE: While this is not my finger, I, too, have allowed black widows to walk on my hand. They are simply not aggressive when trying to get away. Now, grab one twixt thumb and forefinger and your in for a mighty hurting.) 

The widow bite-down of the emailer happened when he and a coworker were tearing down an old shed. Carrying wood back to a nearby truck, he recalls, “I thought I felt something crawling on my shirt collar. I just shook my shirt.”

Turned out the shake-off was a bad move. The black biter – shudder alert – was shaken inside his shirt. It became a nightmare scenario for both the man and the spider, the latter commencing to fanging down for all it was worth.

“It felt like someone stabbed me with a syringe,” he recalled. “I tore off my shirt and saw what it was and knew it wasn’t good. My partner drove me to the ER, which was only a few blocks away. By then, the bite felt like a burning sensation.”

The hospital admitted the still shirtless man, post haste, but after an ER doc had cleaned the bite area, the haste quickly slowed to a crawl. “I was just left lying on my belly. … (nurses) changed the cold compress a few times and the doctor would stop in and look at the bite only saying ‘I see where he got you one good’”

The generally idle lying about went on for an hour. “I expected some sort of blood sucking, like a snake bite.” No such drama. And for good reason. The man’s reaction was very mild. “I only felt a touch sick, but that might have been my nerves,” he writes.

After a final check by the attending, a simple compression bandage was placed over the bite and the bitee was sent home with nothing more than a small paper envelope containing some Tylenol and instructions to use cold packs until the swelling went down. He was back at work the following day, where company coworkers all wanted to check out what ended up as nothing more than red patch of skin with two little fang prick marks.

The man’s young-ish age and general good health made his bite far less serious than what can befall feebler folks or children. At the same time, the ease of the man’s recovery removes some of the stigma of being bitten by a widow spider, almost always depicted as “deadly.”

That said, emergency treatment is an absolute must if positively bitten by a black widow. It is also imperative to bring the remains of the biter to confirm its ID. In the above instance, the smashed spider was left at the scene, though both workers were very familiar with the species, having come across them on many occasions.   

While on an eight-legger role, I need to include a news story that gives even me -- an overfed, long-haired leaping gnome, per Eric Burton -- a rash of goosebumps. It centers on the brown recluse spider, the other toxic arachnid in the house, sometimes literally.

(Below: A recluse spider's violin-like pattern behind the head is nowhere near as discernable as a black widow's red hour-glass belly look.)  

Dangerous Pests: The Brown Recluse Spider in Michigan

So, a house in Missouri had a spider problem. Over the years, the two separate families who had lived there were routinely bugged by coming across spiders at almost every turn. Trying to evict them was a lesson in Black Flag futility.

Unbeknownst to the house’s inhabitants, the spiders were none other than brown recluses, bearers of a hemotoxic bite that can cause some nasty skin die-off – and even an entire body die-off for those who can’t take the toxin.

When the spider sightings got too much to bear, professional exterminators were called in. Arachnophobes read no further. In just one day of exterminating, between 4,500 and 6,000 recluse spiders had been killed.

The fact that no one in the house had ever been bitten proves how rare it is to be fanged, even when spiders are a-crawl in all directions.  

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Seared Scallops - How to cook scallops perfectly with a golden brown crust

I was forwarded a news story in response to my SandPaper segment on scallops. The sender added a message about my failing to mention the potential bottom damage done by scallop trawls, particularly rock-hoppers devices that roll along the bottom, adjusting to its contours.

The bottom muck-up issue has led to an ongoing horn-locking twixt environmentalists and fishermen. Sea turtles, yellowtail flounder, skates, and monkfish are among species incidentally caught in the scallop fishery.

To the rescue, at least theoretically, is ocean floor robotic vacuum technology. 

In a saltwire.com article titled, “Could robotic vacuums replace drag nets in the East Coast scallop fishery?” shows the selective sucking up of bottom dwelling bivalves, scallops in this instance, could be making big moves on the scalloping industry.

In theory, the suck-up method is like that used by divers vacuuming gold from the ocean bottom off Alaska. In the case of scallops, the comparison to gold is apropos.

Last week, the clearing house for American scallops in New Bedford, Massachusetts, registered an all-time high value for scallops, with U10 – averaging ten scallops per pound -- selling for $36.05/lb. What’s more, it’s expected that 2022 will see a significant reduction in the allowable scallop catch due to a diminishing biomass. That assures sky-high scallop prices before they’re even picked. 

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One of the leaders in bottom vacuuming technology is C Robotics of Norway. The cutting-edge company recently announced it’s partnering with Miawpukek Horizon of Canada. This brings the European technology into the local wheelhouses. And the wheelhouse doesn’t have to be all that large since even smaller boats can use the technology to essentially hand pick, closer to eye-pick, scallops from the sea floor.

C Robotics offers two systems, the diver-operated C Disc and remote-controlled C Bud, the latter being a space-age bottom-exploring vehicle.

The article at saltwire.com reads, “Introducing the diver-operated C Disc and the remotely controlled C Bud …  will help fishers reduce greenhouse gas emissions, bycatch, and impacts to the seabed while increasing crew safety and harvest quality. The C Bud can also be used in other segments performing environmental work such as ocean clean-up and sludge removal.”

The C Disc is a manually operated suction system, again very similar to that used by gold hunters. It is an affordable entry-level conduit device moved along by a scuba diver targeting the best scallops a chosen section of bottom has to offer.

Below: The C Disc and diver, in this case sucking up sea urchins.  

The pride of C Robotics is the C Bud. Company CEO Rune Svendsen told saltwire.com that this bottom crawling suction machine looks like something that might explore the surface of Mars—is an effective and gentle method to harvest species like scallops.

The “effective and gentle” angle should sit well with both environmentalists and fishermen, neither wanting to muss up the bottom habitat.

Richard MacLellan, General Manager of Miawpukek, told saltwire.com the technology will offer more sustainable, and more efficient, alternatives to current harvesting practices in the scallop industry.

Possibly more importantly, this equipment could excel when it comes to “picking up” the ocean bottom, meaning removing trash and other debris.

Obviously, C Robotics and Miawpukek Horizon must convince the Canadian government that these apparatuses are ecologically safe and sound, though it has passed green muster in Europe.

If the vacuuming goes down well up north, it should lead to smooth sailing for at least test runs in the US scallop realm.

SAY SO-LONG TO WEAKIES: I need to pass on some mindbogglingly depressing statistics on what is likely a doomed species, the once highly sought-after weakfish.

Clearwater's Key to Common Hudson River Fishes

Inconceivably, it has been scientifically determined that less than one percent of weakfish survive for one year. Over 90 percent of a given year-class of weakfish, a goodly number coming out of Barnegat Bay nurseries, never return after moving out to sea in the fall.

Those numbers are not some exaggerated highly politicized anecdotal blather but the findings of very involved studies, particularly one done by fish biologist Jacob Krause, while attending North Carolina State University.

From 2013 to 2017, Krause and cohorts tagged approximately 3,600 weakfish from three estuaries: Delaware Bay and two North Carolina waterways. In addition, marine biologists from New Jersey, including those at Rutgers, offered information gleaned from acoustic tagging efforts in the Navesink River and Great Bay estuaries.

The weakfish mortality rate proved hideous … and, for a change, it’s not from fishermen, at least not directly.

“Our study found that natural mortality was highest during the fall to the spring, when weakfish leave their estuaries to overwinter offshore. Since many weakfish predators follow the same overwintering patterns, such as striped bass and common bottlenose dolphin, we hypothesized that predation is a potential cause for the increased natural mortality during that time.”

In an interview with On the Water magazine (“What Happened to Weakfish?” by Willy Goldsmith), Krause said of 149 acoustic tags deployed in the fall months, only 2 were detected the following spring.

“With presumed site fidelity and a strong network of acoustic arrays throughout the Mid-Atlantic, we thought these fish would have been detected somewhere if they were alive. But because they weren’t, we’re fairly certain that there is a lot of mortality happening in the winter.”

Apparently, all the angler conservation in the world can’t compensate for the bite that nature now takes from overwintering weakfish stocks. Of course, I’m among the very few who see striper favoritism as an unnatural tweaking of nature. knowing for a fact that weakfish unsuccessfully coinhabit the same offshore overwintering waters as over-mothered stripers.

Below: www.onthewater.com ... Looks like this weakfish just saw a striper. 

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Check out this old footage – and it truly is footage in the truest sense – of striper fishing off Martha’s Vineyard, 1946: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUZclCqUhno

Here’s a screen grab showing the prime castables, which include an Atom’s-like popper (torpedo), a lipped deep-diver and (in the middle) a tin squid with rigged eels. There are also some scenes showing spoons with bucktailed hooks.

In the film, notice the use of bait-casting reels for plugging. I enjoy throwing artificials, mainly jigs, with a conventional reel, however, you can clearly see these old-time pluggers had no anti-backlash or level wind. That thumbing had to be brutal with high winds and repeated casting. A bad enough bird’s nest and that was it for the day.


Baitcaster disaster : r/Fishing

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May be an image of 4 people and outdoors
You don't know what to get someone for the holidays? Well we have something that will fit everyone.
Get them a gift certificate for the Miss Barnegat Light. You pick the amount and we can get it out to you. They are good for ALL fishing trips (fluke, stripers and tuna), sunset cruises, happy hour cruises and the marine biology ecotours.
Give the office a call at 609-494-2094 and have that credit card handy.

Elon Musk made interesting new comments about the upcoming Tesla Pickup truck, including a first hint at the starting price, which he aims to keep under $50,000, and some of the functional

Tesla’s CEO has previously sought suggestions for features to add to the Tesla truck under dev... and he revealed some planned features, like an option for 400 to 500 miles of range, Dual Motor All-wheel-drive powertrain with dynamic suspension, as well as ‘300,000 lbs of towing capacity’.

During an appearance on Ride the Lighting podcast this weekend, Musk made some new comments about the upcoming electric pickup truck.

He confirmed that Tesla is aiming to keep the starting price under $50,000:

“We don’t want it to be really expensive. I think it got to start at less than $50,000 – it’s got to be like $49,000 starting price max. Ideally less. It just can’t be unaffordable. It’s got to be something that’s affordable. There will be versions of the truck that will be more expensive, but you’ve got to be able to get a really great truck for $49,000 or less.”

Based on previous comments, it sounds like the design of the Tesla pickup truck is going to be quite special.

Musk added about the design during the podcast:

“It’s got to have incredible functionally from a load carrying standpoint, look amazing – but it won’t look like a normal truck. It’s going to look pretty sci-fi. That means that it’s not going to be for everyone- like if somebody just wants to have a truck that looks like trucks have looked like for the last 20 to 40 years, it’s probably isn’t for them.”

He confirmed that the cryptic teaser image released earlier this year was actually the front of the Tesla pickup truck:

People have been trying to interpret the image ever since it was released at the launch of the Model Y and it resulted in many interesting theories.

We gathered some of the renderings that came out of it.

The CEO reiterated that it’s going to be a “Blade Runner-like” truck design – something he has been saying for a while now, but it’s hard to know exactly what he means.

He anticipates that some people will think that “it doesn’t look like a truck.” Musk compared the disruptive design to the transition between the horse and carriage and the automobile.”

As for the capabilities of the Tesla pickup truck, the CEO is aiming for high standards:

“It’s going to be a truck that is more capable than other trucks. The goal is to be a better truck than a [Ford] F-150 in terms of truck-like functionality and be a better sports car than a standard [Porsche] 911. That’s the aspiration.”

Ford recently confirmed that they plan to electrify the F150 pickup truck and they also invested in the electric truck startup Rivian and partnered with th....

Earlier this year, Musk said that Tesla plans to unveil its electric pickup truck around this summer.

Featured Image: Tesla Pickup Truck imagined by Turkey-based car designer Emre Husmen

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