Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Any donations are graciously accepted -- and needed. Jay Mann, 222 18th Street, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008-4418.
Monday, November 15, 2010:
Condition went from excellent to foggy (but fishable) throughout the day. Under light fishing pressure, the surf threw out some real nice bass, to 30 pounds – the largest two I heard of were not in the Classic. These remained primarily rogue bass, though a couple folks got intro multiple takes and fish as small as 24 inches.
Blues seem to have moved out for now.
It’s a busy early week for me, as usual. I gathered in quite a few reports -- some good, some not so, as in this one from site regular: Walt P.
“Fished BL inlet Saturday. Pretty snotty out by the monument but managed one 28" on spot. Tried in back at double creek channel, nada. There must have been 40 boats clamming at the tip of the dike. Never saw a fish caught. Pulled the boat and tried all afternoon mid island bayside, nada. Sunday morning tried the inlet again and got outside and up the beach but never saw a bird even think about feeding, henceforth, nada. Tried in back again, nada. Total of 7 hours on the water and the only bass I saw was the one I caught. Talked to Don Ingling about 10:30 this AM and he said around 7:30 AM he was at the rip in Holgate and it was bunker snag and drop at the rip. Bass and blues were caught. WP”
I also had Steve M. emailing about “as many bass as you want” from up off Seaside. He had four folks aboard and all limited out – “on their own.” That means that no one had to have a little secret help from fellow angler – making sure everyone got his or her two keepers.
Emailed from another website, concerning spooky capsizing near Barnegat Inlet: “Pretty amazing how quietly it all happened. Light wind with a big swell and waves breaking randomly all over the bar. Guy in a boat next to us yells something and I thought he lost a fish and then I look forward and see this boat capsize. Two guys on board and boats responded quickly. Despite being in the path of more breaking waves two boats sped quickly to the scene and rescued the two fishermen. Had them steaming into land minutes after it happened. What a wake up call. Cudos to the two boats who performed the rescue. Many others stood by. Not sure what happened to the boat. Saw it drifting around for a while then I headed north. Best wishes to the two guys on the capsized boat.”
More info via media:
“BARNEGAT LIGHT, N.J. - Good Samaritans are being credited with saving two boaters swept overboard when their vessel capsized in rough surf off the coast of Barnegat Light Sunday morning.
According to Coast Guard officials, a call reporting the capsized 17-foot Boston Whaler boat came in to the Barnegat Light station shortly after 10 a.m. They had been notified of two people being in the water.
As Coast Guard rescuers arrived on the scene, the two people swept overboard had been brought aboard two separate other recreational boats that happened to be in the area at the time of the incident.
Officials said a Coast Guard vessel had provided an escort back to the Barnegat Light Coast Guard station, where emergency medical technicians were waiting to provide treatment. The two people were released, and a private commercial salvage company had been contacted to retrieve the capsized boat.
A Coast Guard official said the boat had been out along the North Bar near Barnegat Light, which is known to have rough surf conditions, and there had been between 15 and 20 other recreational boats in the area at the time of the incident.”
What we expected to be an excellent week of striper fishing was turned upside down by a low pressure system that seemed determined to hang around off the coast and make our life miserable all week. Howling winds with gusts into the low 50's led us to cancel our charters on Monday and Tuesday, and continued to make fishing challenging through much of the week.
When the winds finally dropped into the mid to upper 20's on Wednesday, Steve Sweeney was back with buddies Frankie and Dave to give bay bassing a shot. Bravely enduring the wind and cold, the guys proceeded to land a dozen bass up to 20 pounds with clam as the hot bait. These were all nice fat bay fish, with only three shorts and four fish well over 15 pounds. On Friday, Brian Murray and Dave Kruge came out to get in on the action, nailing four bass to 31" despite ugly wind against tide conditions and water temperatures that had plummeted into the 30's. Clam again produced fish in murky waters caused by the constant blow. High hopes for Saturday's trip when the winds finally settled down were dashed as the fish seemed to develop a severe case of lockjaw. Maybe it was the icy cold water, maybe it was the intense boat traffic from the huge fleet of boats that stayed in the bay, but whatever it was the fish didn't want any part of our clam baits or live spot offerings.
We'll have to see what the next week or so brings in terms of weather. Once the bay cleans up from this week's wind, live spot should again start producing consistent bass catches from around the inlet. And if we can get a couple of days or northwest winds to flatten out the ocean, jigging action along the beach should be outstanding. Keep your fingers crossed.
Until next week.
Capt. Jack Shea
Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters
Invasive lionfish, spreading from Florida to the Carolinas hard to spear but good to eat
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [Wall Street Journal] By Paul Glader - November 15, 2010 -
KEY LARGO, Fla., Fluctuations in the fish population are flummoxing marine scientists the world over. But few species elicit the solution served up for the lionfish.
'Kill it and grill it!' says Sean Morton, superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, a 3,900-square-mile National Park that is entirely underwater. The park is licensing hundreds of scuba divers to exterminate red lionfish in 'no-take' areas where other fishing and spearing isn't permitted. 'We want people to get out there and kill as many as possible,' he says.
The marine community is giving the same edict up and down the East Coast. Just as its fellow emigre from the Far East, the Asian carp, has shaken up the Great Lakes, the lionfish is taking on new territory.
The voracious species is breeding by the thousands, gorging on tropical fish near coral reefs and rapidly spreading from the Bahamas and Florida up to the Carolinas. The reddish-striped fish snarfs up nearly anything it can swallow, from crabs to shrimp to angelfish and other species divers like to see. Its prickly, venom-tipped spines fan out around its body and deter sharks and other predators.
Now, the hunt for red lionfish is heating up. The nonprofit Reef Environmental Education Foundation hosted its third 'Lionfish Derby' over the weekend in the Florida Keys and handed out $3,350 in prize money to teams that brought in the most fish -- 109 were killed. Two derbies in the Bahamas the past two years netted more than 2,000 lionfish.
Near scuba spots, divers are increasingly submerging with spears, nets and protective gloves to try to battle the intruder. Websites, YouTube videos and Facebook pages describe how to catch and cook it.
'People have a sense that the waters they love are being invaded,' says Renata Lana, a spokeswoman with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This year, the federal agency launched an 'Eat Lionfish' campaign, aimed at creating a taste for them at high-end restaurants.
Stalking the lionfish isn't easy. The fish, which grow up to about 18 inches, are fast and feisty, divers say. Plus, the tips of their fanned spines give a sting more painful than a bee's.
'They can get nasty,' says Bob Hickerson, of Vero Beach, Fla., who has killed dozens in the past two years. 'I've been charged twice, in the face,' he says. He has designed a 14-inch spear that he has used in derbies this year, his team placing first in one and winning $1,600.
Scientists aren't sure just how the lionfish came to the eastern seaboard. One tale says six lionfish got loose when a beachside aquarium burst during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The lionfish 'almost certainly was released from an aquarium' of some kind, says Mark Hixon, a professor at Oregon State University's Department of Zoology who studies lionfish.
As they have moved from deep to shallow waters, lionfish are eating up parrotfish, which help keep algae from overgrowing coral reefs. Fishermen worry lionfish gluttony will keep sport fish away.
Jason Doty and hundreds of other scuba divers are experimenting with new ways to eliminate the legions of lionfish. 'Six months ago, I hadn't seen one,' says Mr. Doty, who owns the Salty Dawg Scuba N Surf in Lake Park, Fla. 'Now, I kill 12 on one dive.'
Mr. Doty hunts lionfish with a 2.5-foot miniature pole spear with a paralyzing tip. His dive shop is hosting a lionfish hunting derby in December, like dozens of others on the East Coast.
While he keeps a few lionfish in a tank in his shop, he's also tried feeding diced lionfish to eels from his boat, to lobsters on the beach, eating it as ceviche with his crew and giving fillets to sushi chefs in local restaurants.
A few entrepreneurs are designing special gear for the fight. Gregg Waugh in Walterboro, S.C., who has speared 100 lionfish in the Bahamas, launched SafeSpear LLC in April to sell protective gloves and a 4-foot, 10-inch spear designed to shish-kabob lionfish without a diver having to touch the prickly fish. 'We don't want people to have to get too close to 'em,' says Mr. Waugh. 'These are very aggressive animals. Even the smaller ones swim right toward you.'
Lad Akins, operations director at REEF, complains about ill-trained vigilante hunters. 'I've seen people shoot and miss the lionfish and spear a sea cucumber or sponge instead.'
Lionfish are an 'ambush predator' with fast reflexes, Mr. Akins says. 'It's very, very quick at a short distance. When you get close to the fish to spear it, you often miss.' The lionfish learns and adapts. 'If it sees a spear go by, it's not going to stick around to give you a second chance,' he says.
Scuba divers and fishermen are finding statistics stacked against them in their hand-to-spine combat. 'This could become one of the worst marine invasive species in history,' says Dr. Hixon of Oregon State. 'We probably cannot completely eradicate lionfish. Only nature can do that.'
Scientists agree hunting may help, but won't halt the incredible population boom of lionfish that have seen densities increase 700% between 2004 and 2008 in parts of North Carolina. A lionfish can produce more than 2 million eggs per year. 'They are just too widespread,' says Mr. Akins.
The government says one way to fight the fish is to create a market for eating them. NOAA calls the lionfish a 'delicious, delicately flavored fish' with a taste and texture similar to grouper, snapper or hogfish. A few restaurants in the U.S. and the Caribbean are serving it.
James Clark, executive chef at Waterscapes Restaurant in Myrtle Beach, S.C., recently had a roasted lionfish on the menu, with a pumpkin chorizo puree and crab veloute for $22. 'It's tough for me to get,' he says. 'Sometimes fishermen don't want to handle it on their boat.'
Ms. Lana, who organizes the government's 'Eat Lionfish' campaign, says fishermen still often 'throw [lionfish] overboard because they are not aware what they can do with them.' The government is promoting lionfish as a do-good dish that helps balance ocean ecology. It's one of the few fish, she says, people can eat out of existence with a 'clear conscience.'
[seafoodnews.com] Nov 12, 2010 - The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Spiny Dogfish and Coastal Sharks Management Board approved a 20 million pound quota with a maximum possession limit of 3,000 pounds for the 2011/2012 fishing season (May 1 - April 30). The quota will be allocated with 58 percent to states from Maine through Connecticut, 26 percent to New York through Virginia, and 16 percent to North Carolina.
Prior to setting the spiny dogfish quota, the Board approved new reference points based on information from the latest stock assessment. They include a target biomass of 351.23 million pounds (159,288 mt), a threshold biomass of 175.62 million pounds (79,644 mt), and a fishing mortality target and threshold of 0.207 and 0.325 respectively.
The 20 million pound quota was set to achieve a level of fishing mortality (F) equal to 75 percent of the target F and is consistent with recommendations of the Spiny Dogfish Technical Committee. The Technical Committee recommended reducing the target F by 25 percent to minimize any future drop in biomass. The quota is also consistent with the level recommended by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council for federal waters at its October meeting.
The latest stock assessment information indicates that spiny dogfish are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. The biomass in 2010 is estimated to be 361.77 million pounds, which is slightly above the target biomass of 351.23 million pounds and is the second year in a row that biomass has exceeded the target. In addition, F was estimated to be F = 0.113 in 2009 which is well below the target (0.207) and threshold (0.325) rates and achieved the F rate as designed. While spiny dogfish have rebuilt, the stock is expected to decrease below the target biomass around 2014 because of record low recruitment from 1997 - 2003. The magnitude of this drop increases with fishing mortality and is projected to occur even if fishing mortality is zero.
Cape Cod Times] NOv 15, 2010 - PROVINCETOWN Ñ By Doug Fraser- A lingering storm tapered off into sunshine Friday, although wind was still blowing at a stiff 23 mph and seas still reached 11 to 13 feet off Race Point.
The dismal weather conditions, which stretched back to Nov. 5 when waves damaged two $1.2 million Coast Guard rescue boats off Chatham, proved perfect for a special kind of school that teaches Coast Guardsmen how to maneuver rescue vessels in what is known as 'heavy weather,' defined as winds over 34.6 mph and seas over 8 feet.
Typically, those who want to become a heavy weather coxswain must go to the National Motor Lifeboat School located at Cape Disappointment just outside Ilwaco, Wash. This week marked the first time that instructors from the school traveled to another location to teach those special skills.
And they came here.
Six to eight hours a day through next week, 12 candidates for certification are running drills off Provincetown in 47-foot rescue vessels overseen by six instructors from the Washington state school. Two boats from Provincetown, and one each from the Cape Cod Canal station and Sandy Hook, N.J., are participating in the training effort.
Instructor Rusty Gulzow, 30, cracked a little smile when asked about sea conditions this past week. Yes, he said, they were perfect. Nearly every day back in Washington, he gets to practice on waves that can reach 40 feet at the mouth of the Columbia River.
He's even been rolled over 360 degrees by a wave in a self-righting 47-foot, $1.4 million boat.
Gulzow said it's worth it to come out to Provincetown to run classes because conditions here are very different. In Washington state, the wind and sea are more predictable. Waves, for instance, tend to form up in long lines on the West Coast. Here, waves and wind come from different directions, meaning a more chaotic sea. And waves tend to have less space between them, making it more difficult to maneuver, Gulzow said.
Students are taught to make use of the back side of a wave to make turns to pick up a man overboard or deliver a pump, but there is less time to do that here than on the West Coast, he said.
'It's more like a washing machine,' said student Jeremy Graffan, 30, a bosun's mate first class out of Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
Graffan explained that, with the engine in the stern, the 47-foot rescue boat's relatively lighter bow can be pushed around by the wind, pivoting on the stern like a weather vane. He admitted to feeling uneasy when waves towered over the boat in some storms.
'If anyone on a boat crew isn't a little bit scared, they don't know what they are doing,' he said.
The next higher certification over heavy weather coxswain is surfman, which qualifies Coast Guardsmen to operate a vessel in designated surf zones where there are large breaking waves, particularly when wind opposes tidal flow and can create big, steep wave faces.
The Coast Guardsmen who were piloting the 42-foot rescue vessels that were disabled at the Chatham Break Nov. 5 were certified as surfmen. Coast Guard spokeswoman Connie Terrell said the investigation into what happened that night would not be completed for months.