Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Monday, July 28, 2014: Well, the westerlies have returned after a lengthy absence. We could see offshore winds into Thursday. This is going to smooth the surf and likely clean the water. I don’t know if it’ll be hard enough to upwell cold beachline water. Maybe, but unlikely. I’ll be watching it.
While west winds aren’t the best for kicking up T-storms, the chance is out there, per forecasters. Keep an eye on weather radar, as always.
North end folks, that is the famed Meerwald, NJ’s official tall ship, docked in Barnegat Light. The tricky channels down Little Egg way made it impossible for the sailing vessel to go into Beach Haven, as scheduled. Good move, cap. Complaints about Little Egg Inlet are through the ceiling. Fortunately, the “cut” at BH Inlet has helped the egress/ingress cause for knowledgeable captains. I just worry when hurricane swells start to arrive. Maybe we won’t get any. Yeah, right.
By the by, Beach Haven Inlet remains officially “Closed” – despite being open. You know what I mean. Should a vessel like the Meerwald try going through it and something happens, pity the poor captain – and possibly kiss good-bye any chance of insurance coverage. Just sayin’.
The offshores winds should really kick up the shark fishing, not only along the beach but throughout nearshore waters. I’m betting threshers will start to show out a short ways. That’s good eating news.
As for the beach, the browns just keep getting bigger. See photo of 7-footer shown out of Jingle Bait and Tackle, down below.
Also biting, mainly at night, are monster southern stingrays. Some of these are absolute eye-openers, also measuring in at seven foot and above. See Apex Angler photo below. I have pics of three separate mega-rays, pulled in through the surf. One was bitten by a small shark on the way in.
You might want to check with shops on how to best fight monster rays. Also, check YouTube videos or FB in on either Apex Predators or AJ Rotondella. I’ll clue you in that landing a royally large ray involves whatever greatly exceeds patience and endurance, i.e. something far beyond my ADD.
As with large skates, the burying ability of a stingray is instantaneous – and unforgiving. While there is always some degree of bottom suction involved with an imbedded ray, just the sheer weight of the sand it has flipped atop its body doubles a ray’s weight.
I liken ray fishing to trying to muscle out a Holgate Inlet surf-casting sinker that hasn’t been checked in, like, five hours. The difference is once you finally bust out a big ray, it’ll take the loosened thing about two seconds to achieve a five-hour-like reburial. Good luck, dude. I’ll check back with ya in, say, four hours.
I won’t get into the edibility of rays except to say there has been a remarkable push to make cownose rays something of a blue-plate special, especially down in the Chesapeake Nation. If you feel like giving a ray meal a try, there are YouTube videos on “cleaning stingrays.” I’ve done it and it’s a bit of bitch to carve around their in-wing cartilages.
By the by, I have eaten cownose rays a couple times, never southern stingrays. I’m can’t say they have any innate delectability. However, when doused with a downpour of day-saving spices and/or after marinating until the cownoses comes home, the meat is highly barbecueable.
Myth buster: They do not make “scallops” out of stingray or skate wings. All you have to do is clean one to see the impossibility factor enter into it. Then, the taste could fool a soul.
In one year on Facebook, I've likely learned more about life and people than I had learned in the previous ten years of existing inside my own private little bubble. That said, I just might have overdone it a bit with my befriendings. Oh, it’s amazing how many fishing – and life – reports I now get. But, like time itself, Facebook posts are fleeting, especially when I'm flirting with over 1000 “friends” -- and most truly are.
I like to pass on prime reports/post via my daily-ish website blogs at www.jaymanntoday.ning.come , or just Google “Jay Mann.” However, I’m in the field (off-line) a lot and miss many a great post. If you have something reportish you’d like to reach my realm, please email (firstname.lastname@example.org), “message" me directly on FB or pin posts to my Facebook timeline.
And, yes, I still thoroughly enjoy befriending fine folks.
Critters of the night. This 7 footer was caught last night around 11pm by Ashley Harrison 7/27/14 in Haven Beach. This shark was fought for over 2 hours and then released.
Results are final!
(Wow, there must be fluke venders on the beach ....)
These are some whoppers! Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Tournament.
This is just plain family/friends fun, summertime-style ...
Cloudy day, cool breeze, good friends are the makings of a good day of crabbing
In support of our friend & co-worker Billy McMullan's fight against Hodgkin's Lymphoma, new shirts are available at Shooter's to support him. They are a minimum donation of $12. All t-shirts are black with purple & lime green camo, representing the cancer ribbon for Hodgkin's Lymphoma and all Lymphoma cancer. "Team Billy" is printed on the back. Please message Abby Gormley with any questions or stop by Shooter's Sporting Center to pick one up. Thanks!
A Share from Matt Burton ...
Chris Bellini: My definition of a "head shot"...
Ya, thats a BIG one. With Paul Cabada.
As we dropped the jib tonight, this stunning backdrop was revealed. We enjoyed 3 beautiful sails today from Barnegat Light. The sailing was brilliant. We have more public sails over the next 3 days from this port of call plus a Sailor For A Day Camp on Wednesday. Spaces are still available. Check our website (bayshorecenter.org) or call (856-785-2060) for more information or to purchase tickets.
Check out this "Welcome" mat!
Tim Fiordaliso of Mount Holley weighed in this 33" 14.25-lb monster doormat this afternoon. #flounder #doormat #flounderpounder #fluke #flukefishing#barnegatlight #njfishing #fishermansheadquarters
Kayak crabbing package $40 includes two person kayak,bait,droplines,net and a bucket. Fishing package includes a sit on top fishing kayak a fishing pole,bait and a net also for $40. Stop in the crabbing is getting better.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [hexun.com] translated by Amy Zhong - July 28, 2014
Zhangzidao has sold 2800 Boston lobsters in two days through its home delivery of the live aquatic products. Zhangzidao has started to sell its imported Boston lobsters in Tmall, an online retailer. And consumers can click the mouse and get the live Boston lobsters delivered to their home instead of going to the market for aquatic products.
A surge in demand from Asia was the reason Urner Barry raised their quotations for chix (1 lb) and quarters (1 1/4 lb) lobsters last week. While other sizes fell in price due to heavier landings, the smallest sizes rose $.25 to $.35 cents. This is consistent with the promotional start of live lobster sales direct to consumers in China.
The lobsters were offered with a promotional price of $10.60 per lb. for the first week.
The group’s lobsters have been widely received and highly praised online. According to some netizens, “the seafood arrives very quickly. I placed the order yesterday noon and got the lobsters at 9:00 am today.”
“The lobsters are vigorous upon arrival.” And “the meat is very delicious and plump”.
The Boston lobsters have been raised in the sea where the water is cold and clear. And then they are transported to Shanghai from the overseas production sites by air in 20 hours. After they arrive, the lobsters are stored temporarily in the facility of Ocean Food, the group’s subsidiary.
The facility has a total area of over 10,000 square meters that mimick the water of the Atlantic Ocean in the building of the facility. The lobsters can be kept alive for three to six months in the water there and they can also be develivered to the domestic customers in 48 hours from the facility.
And the consumers can get the bonus of buying the lobsters at 66 yuan/450g ($10.60) if they place their order online from July 14 to 20.
This is the first big promotional activity after the establishment of the cooperation between Tmall and Water World (Shanghai) Network Technology, also Zhangzidao’s subsidiary. 2800 live lobsters have been sold in the first two days and the sales channel is recognized by the netizens for its convenience, the fast delivery and the seafood’s freshness. Now the staff from Ocean Food and Water World, Zhangzidao’s two subsidiaries are working hard to handle the orders and send out the products in an orderly way so as to ensure that the consumers can get and taste the delicious lobsters in a rapid way.
Photo Credit: Alibaba
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Bangor Daily News] By Beth Brogan - July 28, 2014 -
FREEPORT, Maine, Despite cautious optimism earlier this year that midcoast mudflats would be spared, invasive European green crabs were apparently only waiting for warmer water to scurry back into the area and begin wreaking havoc on the shellfish industry.
“Since the beginning of last week, they’ve increased considerably,” said Sara Randall of the Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education, which is conducting six studies on the crustaceans in Freeport. “Compared to exactly this time last year there aren’t as many, but we think that within the next couple of weeks we’ll see a lot more.”
“They’re here,” said Brunswick’s Marine Resource Officer, Dan Devereaux. “Not to the extent that they were here last year — I still think the catches are about 80 percent down from last year — but they’ve doubled in the last couple of weeks.”
For the last couple of years, the crabs have decimated lucrative clam flats in Casco Bay, prompting researchers to study why the crabs are here and how best to eradicate them.
But perhaps due to the unusually cold spring, the crabs didn’t arrive during June. In late June, Devereaux pulled a clam rake through the mud of Harpswell’s Buttermilk Cove and found no crabs.
Whether or not the crabs return in the numbers seen last year, Devereaux said the damage has been done: Most of the clams being harvested now are between two-and-a-half and three inches long. Smaller clams — the size little green crabs can best handle — just aren’t around.
“Over the next few years, clammers are going to be in trouble,” Devereaux said.
And with anecdotal stories about lobster traps coming up full of green crabs, Couture said lobstermen may want to pay close attention too.
This year, the majority of the crabs seem to be in deeper water like Quahog Bay in Harpswell, where some 600 pounds of crabs were pulled up in traps last week, according to Darcie Couture of Resource Access International, who is working with Harpswell and Brunswick harvesters.
But Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, said Friday that she hasn’t fielded any calls from lobstermen about the invasive creatures, nor did she hear about them from anyone gathered last week at a meeting of the Lobster Advisory Council.
Still, Couture said if the crabs are crawling along the ocean floor, “they’re going to be eating what’s out there.”
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Cape Cod Times] By Doug Fraser - July 28, 2014 -
EAST ORLEANS, Outer Cape lobster fishermen say that new federal regulations protecting whales don't just threaten their livelihood, they threaten their lives.
But supporters of the new rules say it's time to cut back on the nearly half-million lobster pot and fishing gear lines that entangle whales at twice the rate allowed under federal laws enacted nearly 20 years ago.
"This is the first (lobster) regulation where you will have wholesale civil disobedience," predicted Orleans lobsterman Steve Smith, while transferring totes of lobsters from his skiff to his pickup truck at Snowshore Landing recently.
"People just aren't going to do it."
State surveys show that at least 30 percent of Massachusetts lobstermen regularly fish alone and many of them set a single lobster pot connected to a single marker buoy. That's particularly true of Outer Cape lobstermen who fish in one of the most exposed ocean environments in New England from vessels less than 30 feet. But, they say, fishing solo is an economic necessity because of limits on the number of traps and the shallow inlets they follow to get offshore.
National Marine Fishing Service data shows that there is an average of nearly 227,000 vertical fishing lines in the water every month in the Northeast. All but 6,200 are for buoys marking lobster pots. The new regulations, which go into effect Jan. 1, stipulate that lobstermen use a minimum of two traps per buoy with the goal of reducing the number of vertical lines in the Northeast by 30 percent.
Smith has a hydraulic winch to bring each pot up from the bottom, and can stand in one spot to pull the lobsters out of the trap, rebait it and let it slip back over the side. But with two traps, he'd have to put both on the deck and then move around to unload and rebait them.
That means two things: He is more at risk for getting entangled in the extra line and he would have to move away from the throttle, which is critical in stopping a moving vessel if he gets caught by the rope and is pulled overboard.
Also, these traps are heavy, as much as 125 pounds apiece. Twice the weight means a lot when they get balled up in a storm, and even more when it threatens to drag you down to the bottom.
"Right now, if you're caught (entangled) in a single trap, you're right at the controls. You can put it into neutral and cut the line or get untangled," said Truro lobsterman Bill Souza. "With more than one, there's no way you can hold that back. It will take you right over the stern."
Lobster fishermen have a fatality rate 2½ times the national rate for workplace deaths, according to a 2005 report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The majority are due to entanglements. In a safety institute survey of 103 lobstermen, 73 percent said they had lost clothing or been pulled to the stern or overboard by their own gear.
"Without a sternman, adequate deck space, and sufficient hydraulic power, the risk of injury to the lobsterman is unacceptable," Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Director Paul Diodati wrote to NMFS regional administrator John Bullard on July 16 urging the agency to reconsider the impacts on Cape lobstermen.
The problems don't stop there. In his letter, Diodati also said that the new plan is flawed because it is based on a computer model based on incomplete data that might be underestimating whales and fishing activity outside Massachusetts.
The state has higher record-keeping standards for its lobstermen than any other state, resulting in tougher regulations, and fewer exemptions than other states who weren't collecting that information. The commonwealth requires all its lobstermen to fill out trip reports that specify where they fished, what they landed and how many traps they were using.
But Maine asks only 10 percent of its lobstermen to report, although the state has the highest lobster landings by far of any state, and the most lobster pot lines in the water — more than 50 percent of the 473,000 lines used annually in the Northeast.
The Massachusetts data meant the model worked really well in pinpointing whale entanglement spots here, but not in other states.
"Massachusetts is collecting data and those data have been used to impose measures that other states, that are not collecting that data, are being exempted from," said Sharon Young, marine issues field director of the Humane Society of the United States. Young is a member of the whale-protection team that put together the new lobster regulations.
Seventy percent of Maine's state waters are already exempt from much of federal whale regulations because state and federal officials believe whales don't enter those inshore waters. NMFS also granted a quarter-mile zone around some Maine islands to protect their solo lobstermen who, like their compatriots on the Outer Cape, said it was too dangerous to handle multiple trap trawls. That same exemption was granted in New Hampshire.
Dan McKiernan, deputy director of the Massachusetts marine fisheries division, said his agency will meet with lobstermen about possible relief measures but any new changes require a separate rule to be made by the whale-protection team. That process has typically taken a couple of years.
David Gouveia, NMFS assistant director for protected resources in the Atlantic, said exemptions were granted in other states because there is little evidence that whales use those area's inshore waters to the extent they do those of Massachusetts. Conversely, it's well-documented in scientific research, whale watch sightings and federal aerial surveying that the Bay State sees high numbers of whales feeding in places like Cape Cod Bay and Stellwagen Bank. Massachusetts DMF data from fishermen show there are also a lot of lobster pots and other fishing gear in those areas. Portions of Cape Cod Bay are designated for seasonal closure to all fixed fishing gear like lobster pots and gill nets, to protect large aggregations of right whales.
Young countered that, unlike Massachusetts, some states, including Maine, haven't put much effort into finding whales. Aerial surveys are sparse, she said, there are no acoustic buoys, like those on Stellwagen Bank, that listen for whale sounds and most fishermen aren't required to report what they do or see.
"If you don't look for them, how do you know they are not there?" Young asked.
But, Gouveia said, NMFS has to go forward and address known causes to comply with the laws and avoid litigation under either the Marine Mammal Protection or the Endangered Species act.
Despite continued entanglements, whale populations have made significant increases as a result of the protection plan. Although its growth rate is low, the North Atlantic right whale population, one of the most endangered large whale species on earth, has increased from 265 individuals a decade ago to more than 450 today. But those numbers could be even higher, Young argues, if the federal agency complied with the laws and ended all entanglements.
Young agrees NMFS is caught in a vice of conflicting interests. But she also argues the agency needs to be more assertive in tackling hard issues. The agency backed away from requiring that all gear be marked in such a way that fishing regulators or those freeing entangled whales would know more precisely where it came from.
"If you mark gear more finely to differentiate it from others, you could see where (entanglements) were happening," Young said. That could result in smaller areas and fewer fishermen having to comply with onerous and costly regulations.
She noted that the shipping industry was highly resistant to slowing down their vessels in areas where right whales were known to be swimming. Ships hitting whales were once the largest cause of mortality, and now they rarely occur.
"It is hard to make changes," Young said, "but it does happen and it can make a huge difference for whales."