Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Monday, July 01, 2013: Another aggravatingly uncertain day, sky-wise. The spot showers have increased from yesterday, leaving short breaks for fishing dryly – followed by downpours.
I have an arriving batch of reports of decent surf fluking, despite the riled up waters. I even had a plugger report of two take-home models, one to 22 inches, near a jetty. Small black Bomber. \
Seems like everything remained the same since last week’s report (fluking, blowfishing, weather pattern, south wind, cold ocean, etc). Fluke are still my primary target with shorts still out numbering keepers, however, many of the keepers are quality fish easily exceeding the 20” mark. One filets from one of these fish can practically feed a family! The fish are spread out over Barnegat Bay and can be found anywhere from the skinny waters of the flats to the deep cuts of the channels. Once the bay warms up a little more the fluke will start making a move towards the inlet. As the fluke move towards the inlet I am hoping to see more weakfish moving into the bay. Attached is a picture from today’s trip with Julian White on the left and Greg Toufayan from Saddle River on the right.
Below: Belly contents are a vital tell, though I'm never sure what to make of sand eels. Were they balled up somewhere or, more likely, were they nabbed one at a time, near inlets with rapid outgoing tides, i.e. the north tip of The Dike, near Barnegat Inlet, famed for ripping tides constantly turning over the sand. Many bellied mantis shrimp come from those zones. However, fluke feeding exclusively in churned up shorelines, like we've had of late, would also come across tons of exposed sand eels. Both possiblitrs offer clues to better fishing.
((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((()))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))From Paul H.:Below is an article I wrote pertaining to the fluke situation. It is followed by one that Tom Fote wrote a month ago. Tom has recently written another one but I only have a hard copy of it. However, I will send it to you when I get an electronic copy of the JCAA newsletter.Most likely the NJMFC is going to add 6 days to the fluke season rather than the full 11 days most of us had hoped for. The only chance we have at getting the full 11 days will be if a lot of people from diverse groups (clubs, party boat reps, tackle store reps, etc) all show up at the council meeting and support the option to extend the season by 11 days.
NJMFC to Consider Extending Our Fluke Season
By Paul Haertel
The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council (NJMFC) will decide whether or not to extend our fluke season at their upcoming meeting on 7/11/13. The meeting will be held at 4PM at the Galloway Twp. Public Library located at 306 East Jimmie Leeds Rd.,Galloway, N.J.. Public comment will be accepted at the meeting prior to their decision being made. The three options being considered will be not to extend the season at all, extend it by just 6 days or extend it by the full 11 days that were approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMF). In the past the council has shown that they do listen attentively to the public and will usually choose the option that the majority favors even if that option is not the council's "preferred option". Therefore, if you are interested in having our fluke season extended it is important to attend this meeting and voice your opinion.
At a recent Jersey Coast Angler's Association meeting our member clubs voted unanimously to support the option that would extend the season by the full 11 days. Most of the fluke fishermen I know support this option as well but there is some resistance. Some have expressed concern about the flawed MRFSS and MRIP surveys. More specifically, some believe that accepting these extra fish will somehow make us exceed our annual quota. However, these are bonus fish that are an addition to the quota that was previously set for our state. Tom Fote and our other representatives on the ASMFC fought hard to obtain this additional quota forNew Jersey. If they had not done that all of the projected underage of the quota would have been given to New York. Representatives from these two states argued over this projected underage until a compromise was hammered out. In the end New York reduced its season by 1 day and gave it to New Jersey so that we could have the full 11 day extension that we had requested. Still, New York received the bulk of the projected underage which enabled them to reduce their size limit. For the NJMFC to accept anything less than an 11 day extension might embarrass our representatives on the ASMFC while angering those from New York. Something like that could effect our commissioners ability to resolve other issues amicably in the future. Further, the ASMFC granted New Jersey 88,000 fluke to cover the additional 11 day season. Surveys from previous years have shown that fishermen in our state normally catch from 400-2000 fish a day during that time period. That should provide more than an ample buffer to ensure that this bonus quota will not be exceeded. Additionally, those catches were reported from normal years rather than a year like 2013 where participation in the fishery is expected to be down significantly due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
Our fluke season is currently scheduled to end on 9/16 but it could be extended to either 9/22 or 9/27. Even if the 11 day extension for the fluke season is approved it will still be 14 days shorter than it was last year. There is a similar situation with sea bass as that season was reduced by 30 days from what it was last year. After hearing of the ASMFC approval of an extension for our fluke season and in anticipation that the NJMFC would accept it, biologists from the New Jersey Bureau of Marine Fisheries (NJBMF) worked hard to develop regulations for sea bass that would ensure that both sea bass and fluke seasons would not be closed at the same time. This resulted in the sea bass season being open during various periods of time this year. However, it will be closed from 8/9-9/26. If the fluke season is not extended until 9/27 there will be number of days where the season for both species will be closed at the same time, leaving inshore fishermen little to fish for. Obviously, this would be detrimental to charter, party and private boaters as well as the tackle stores and other businesses that fishermen support especially in a year where many of them are struggling to recover from the hurricane.
Please also read Tom Fote's article for additional information about the fluke situation. Most importantly though, please attend the NJMFC meeting and ask them to extend our season by the full 11 days.
Summer Flounder Add-On
by Tom Fote
As I reported, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted on a conference call to allow New Jersey to add days to the end of the summer flounder season. I voted for this because I thought it would help the heavily impacted recreational fishing industry. I also realize that the way these days are added it does not affect our original quota except to add on to the quota. I read some interesting comments in the newspaper and I think some people have a difficult time grasping how this addition is implemented. The easiest way to understand is to look at this addition of days as though it is a commercial transfer of quota from one state to another. When we transfer commercial quota it is because one state has an underused quota and allows another state to harvest that quota. It is separate poundage of fish that is transferred and has no impact on the existing quota. If that commercial fishery goes over its existing quota, it is not because of the added days but because it exceeded both the original and the additional quota. In order to do the transfer of recreational quota, ASMFC and NJ had to tabulate how many pounds of fish would be needed for each of the added days. ASMFC and New Jersey calculated that we could add a specific number of days based on the poundage available in relation to the historical catch figures. That means that in order to exceed quota, we would have to exceed the original quota and the additional quota both. Remember, those quota and catch figures are based on a normal year. Given the impact of Sandy with boats destroyed or damaged and marinas not yet in operation, there seems little possibility that this will approach a “normal” year. I know this is a stretch, but recognize that common sense would suggest that this year we will have less participation, fewer boats in the water and fewer trips than in previous years. I need to add a qualified since we are dealing with the National Marine Fisheries Service and their fatally flawed data collection system. I still continue to give good odds that we will not exceed our summer flounder quota this year. I could be surprised but I can’t believe even this system is sufficiently flawed to measure us at above quota or increasing trips. In my judgment, we should avail ourselves of the additional days.
The other reason I am supporting this addition of days is because it has the greatest impact on those who fish from the beach. When we raise the size limit, the beach anglers have very little access to legal size summer flounder except in September, October and November. We have lost October and November but adding a few days in September will give them an opportunity to catch a few summer flounder. For the boat fishermen, these additional days will give them something to fish for until the black sea bass season opens. It is a win-win.