Final two weigh-ins for the Classic.
Monday, December 11, 2017: From snow-covered sands, the 2017 LBI Surf Fishing Classic bid a fond adieu to a year that officially offered some of the worst bassing since the event began in 1955. It’s one of six piss-poor surfcasting autumns in succession.
If you entered, you’ll at least be able to tell the grandkids that you lived through yet another fall when the bassing crashed and burned. Here’s hoping that will be astounding to the kids -- considering how amazing the bassing got by the very next fall -- one of those worst-to-first sports-type reversals.
Yes, I’m already making an effort to hype the great 2018 LBI Surf Fishing Classic. With any luck, the minimum size of bass will drop to 24 inches and the weigh-ins will flow like cheap wine.
No, I’ve heard nothing whatsoever about a drop in the minimum size of NJ striped bass for 2018. I simply figure that once the what-if birds are loosed, the sky’s the limit. Maybe the event will eventually allow bass taken by any paddle-powered vessels, like kayaks and SUP boards. I’m not serious. Or am I not?
I will duly note that the final contestant count for this year’s Classic was a dang decent 756 fishing folks. The count represents a huge number of anglers entering as much for tradition maintenance and mom’s apple pie as catching bass and blues. Had there been an explosion of fish at any point, I’ll wager that a 100-plus fair-weather fishermen would have come out of the dune fencing, i.e. the woodwork.
The total bass take was 84 stripers. Although that’s pathetically low, it was the second-best count since 2012, not factoring in an added week this year, along with some tweaks to the minimum size for an enterable bass. It’s amazing how numbers can BS.
It’s almost too painful to mention the total bluefish count for the nine-week Classic was 11 fish. How can I not once again rub in the fact that only last spring we saw more huge blues than possibly any previous spring, ever.
The contest now over, it’s time for lingering fishing folks to clean up on December schoolie bass, which remain fairly available in the surf -- and way more so for boat anglers. Spicing up the boat bassing are pockets of better bass, some well into the keeper range. I think fall bass are some of the tastiest, for whatever reason.
WHAT NOW?: I write this periodic blog – which runs about $25 a month just for hosting – as a somewhat-therapeutic outlet; an odd show of appreciation for the fine life I’ve had, thanks to being hereabouts. I conveniently won’t factor in time-spent as a per-hour expense. Anti-kaching. It’s the now post-post-season, when my blog mentality goes from being fairly fishing-related to whatever comes to mind – and Island.
Below: I'm already a bit google-eyed ...
Heading up a news desk, there is usually more than enough stuff to write about but I need to keep some semblance of higher outdoorness. To stay afloat from now until angling re-fires, I’ll enter my never-ending nature look-abouts. Those I do year ‘round, without fail, almost daily.
For winter, I’ll also be offering insider looks at Island life when it shivers. I’m hoping this is helpful for the many who have now gone off afar – as off afar as Florida, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Callie, the Caribbean … and beyond. Lucky ducks. Just don’t be a stranger.
For those who must (or choose to) linger hereabouts, it looks like it’s just us … again.
Hugely appreciated are fun photos. Yes, weird always works for me, though just plain scenic also rocks.
I also highly appreciate tales and photos from far-off venues. Nowadays, it’s as easy reaching this blog from Timbuktu as it is from Trenton.
SIDEBAR: Have you seen the NatGeo show about the primitive Ashaninka tribe in the Amazon? They protect their sacred section of rain forest with deadly poison-tipped arrows -- and a highly-advanced knowledge of the internet and GPS tracking system. I kid you not. See http://www.mintpressnews.com/the-internet-is-our-weapon-amazon-indi....
“We used to defend ourselves by bow and arrow. But that doesn’t work anymore. Our modern weapon is the internet,” says Benki Piyako, the son of the chief of the Ashaninka. “This is the only way to ensure safety on our territory.”
That is spoken a bit coyly. The Ashaninkas have terrified trespassing loggers – with Neanderthal deadliness. They have not even remotely abandoned arrows.
Not surprisingly, satellite images reveal razor-sharp territorial boundaries marking the tribe’s lush forested land and the clear-cut “jacked’ forest stretches, hideously barren land, razed by tropical wood seekers. Poison arrows have a way of making poignant boundaries.
Below: It's tough for loggers to claim they accidentally wandered onto Ashaninka property -- not that you'd get much of a chance to present your case ... poisonous arrows are like that.
Above: This is not some ceremonial garb. This is the daily look loggers never want to see.
Anyway, be it Barbados or the Amazonian rain forests, I sometimes try to bring better photos into The SandPaper, with the shooter’s permission. The photo-use call is made by the publisher.
My main job is finding and assigning stories – though the SandPaper writers are amazing at coming up with ideas. Hey, if you think it’s easy filling a weekly newspaper – that can get huge in the summer – try coming up with 30 or 40 newsy ideas … week in and week out. I often compare getting a weekly paper out to having a final exam … every week.
All that said, I’m not sure how often I’ll blog from now until a seemingly way-off spring. Of course, should I throw in blogs about treasure hunting and outbacking, it might be more often than during the fishing season -- if treasure hunting gets good ... as in instant-retirement good.
Below: My pocket cam catches a look that tells me I'm maybe not supposed to be on that particular piece of land:
You can help by simply stopping in for whatever reads are offered. It also lift my writing spirits if you get some new folks to show on the counter.
If I can help anyone in any media way, or if you have any dang thing of interest to share, please get in touch. Best way is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not only don’t I bite but I’m remarkably good at keeping things confidential if so requested. All I need is the seed of a story idea to run with it – while fully distancing it from the seed source.
I trust all y'all ... OK maybe not quite this much.
Bill protects striped bass fishermen
To the editor:
Your newspaper recently carried an article titled “State weighs ban on commercial striper fishing.” As the group behind the legislation cited in the article, Stripers Forever would like to correct that misleading headline.
As the target of tens of thousands of passionate recreational anglers, striped bass are the most sought after and economically important sport fish along the U.S. Atlantic seaboard.
According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, anglers from around the world make hundreds of thousands of trips each year to try and catch a striped bass along their migratory range from South Carolina to Maine, and they spend a lot of money doing so.
Massachusetts is ground-zero for recreational striped bass fishing, generating over $1 billion in economic activity for the commonwealth when the fishery was at its peak. Even today, according to the Center for Ecological Economic and Ethical Education, “The recreational fishery in Massachusetts for wild striped bass dwarfs every other recreational and commercial fishery in this state.”
And, according to the center, it’s not even close. Recreationally caught wild striped bass generate 130 times more economic activity than their commercial value. What’s more, the value of the recreational striped bass fishery alone is equivalent to nearly 90 percent of Massachusetts’ total commercial fishery — finfish and shellfish combined.
The state’s own records show that of just over 3,000 commercial striped bass permit holders, fewer than one-third report the sale of any fish at all, while less than 6 percent historically report landing more than 1,000 pounds of striped bass per year.
Far from banning commercial fishing for striped bass, our bill protects, for their lifetime, those few hard-working individuals who make a living from the sea in part by selling striped bass. What H466 does accomplish is the elimination of a loophole that allows thousands of anglers to take unfair advantage of a low cost of entry to — according to the numbers — defray the cost of their bait, tackle, gas and coffee for a day on the water.
The current approach to striped bass management is further evidence that the commonwealth is still clinging to a romantic but obsolete memory of what used to be — a memory that has depleted our once-abundant fisheries, including cod.
Our bill is a step toward a clearer vision for the future of our state, its economy and the environment.
So a lot of you would say this season was a disappointment due to the lack of quality fish. Honestly for me it’s been a confidence builder, I get that the fish are rats but I now have so much more confidence in locating cuts , troughs and fishing the lip of the beach. For many of you it may have come natural and easy to comprehend. But In my case I had to put the time in and learn it real time. Guess I learn much slower than most but learning is what keeps me coming back for more. I love being in the surf whether I catch or not it truly does something to me that I can’t explain
Hi Jay - I thought you'd like to see these pictures we got as we were driving on the beach on Friday while surf fishing. We were headed from Harvey Cedars to Surf City and I saw several crows on the snow fence on the dunes. Then the snowy owl swooped down and landed right next to us. The crows all started to dive at the owl and chase him south, the same direction we were driving. And of course, all this drama was going on unbeknownst to the surf fisherman who were concentrating on their quest for the big one for the derby! Incidentally, I'm currently in first place in the Women's Division. We'll see if someone beats me today!
We all knew it had to happen sooner or later. Yesterday (Thurs) afternoon we trolled our limit of 28 to 34 inch fish as well as the slot fish on umbrella rigs and Mojos. Two and a half miles due east of Barnegat Inlet. Later in the trip right after the tide started moving the gannets were hitting the water hard and concentrated. We dropped in some swim shads and retrieved them and the bass instantly responded. These were the biggest fish of the trip, as well, all 15 to 18 pound fish! That we couldn't keep, but it was a blast to get them on the drift. I heard from a few other captains that today was another epic day.
I cancelled today, (Sat) because the forecast changed to 20 knots of NE with this one day snow storm that's passing through. Sunday and Monday, Dec 10 and 11 look great for sea conditions so we are sailing Open Boat or Charter those days, 6AM to 1PM. Next week we will be sailing Tues thru Thurs, Dec 12-14 9:30AM to 4:30PM and Fri thru Mon, Dec 15-18, 6AM to 1PM. $175 person, 4 people max, all fish are shared.
Capt. Dave DeGennaro
Hi Flier Sportfishing
After weeks of getting skunked , this is what I get?? Oh well... there’s always next year! # u get to live another day # where are all the big stripers?
Couldn’t get them all on the table
Second recapture from our research efforts this summer!
Keith Dunton of Monmouth University has reported that this juvenile male Sand Tiger shark that was caught in New Jersey during a guided trip on July 13th, 2017, has been recaptured! The shark was at liberty for 147 days before being caught again by a commercial gill-netter off Topsail, North Carolina, just about 400 nautical miles apart. The fish is acoustic tagged, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up next!