Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, November 01, 2011: Some serious north windage but nothing along stormy lines. In fact, sunny skies made for some ideal fishing – including some decent bites.


I had three separate reports of some fine stripering on both bait and plugs. The Classic showed same, with 13 weigh-ins, 10 bass and 3 blues, mainly mid-island south. Best bass was 28.25 and best blue was 12.56. All Classic fish went for bunker. However, J.L. had a keeper bass on a diving plug. Another good bass was taken on a Fin-S.


Holgate needs more work done. Don’t plan on it. Hopefully, some serious looks at the problem there might spark some long-term fix-it suggestions.


Weekly blog (unedited) : Don’t Drink the Puddled Water;

Sharks Showing Bad Overbites



FLOOD BLOG: Many of us are on a first name basis with those large, orange “Road Flooded” barrels. They’re now in-place for the winter; hanging roadside, to be hauled onto the too-many sections of LBI roadway that now chronically submerge when the ocean so much as thinks about having itself a serious high tide.

It wasn’t that many decades back that such warning devices were barely needed. Only history-grade weather hits loosed enough flooding to warrant barrels and such.

Now, as LBI literally sinks beneath the never-ending press down of an over-adoring, overbearing and overbuilding humanity, those barrels get no rest. From summer T-storm downpours to winter weather raves, there are sections of roadways that sport killies as water issues out of the bay, through the sewer systems. 

For anglers, primarily those motoring south from the Causeway, it’s essential to think left lane when water is snaking out of sewer grates.

While there is a state law against driving in the passing lane if not passing, that surely doesn’t apply to LBI when water makes itself at home across the entire right lane.

Boat anglers hauling their hulls have to be doubly alert to water ahead.

I bring all this up in response to a very significant e-question regarding the chemical nature of Boulevard floodwaters.

If you’ve ever tasted that roadway water – hey, I was real curious – it is seriously salty, with some other ingredients I can never quite put my finger on. That spiciness looms damagingly large if you have a vehicle you would like to hold onto for, say, more than a year. Making matter worse, the Boulevard’s putrid puddles are often met at a significant speed. The spray factor upon watery impact sends corrosive droplets into places even the undercoating man hadn’t foreseen.

SPRAY-OFF 101: For mobile anglers, nothing is better for a buggy than a long, personal power washing, be it via a private power washer (nice Christmas gift for the angler with everything) or at a coin-driven pull-in place. Don’t count on drive-through washing garages to get at the deepest chassis crevices. Getting behind the spraying wand, can give due diligence to places you know have taken corrosive sand and saltwater.

When going the coin-op rinsing route, the owners push the concept of performing the full-Monty cycle – soap, scrub, mats, rinse and wax. However, I take just about my coinly time using the high-power wax stage, after a quick sopa/rinse. The power wax cycle can power de-sand and, most of all, force that vehicle-saving liquid wax into the deepest recesses of my undercarriage, where the worst rots begin. I’m sure Ray W. (powerwash owner) can give huge reasons for obediently going through the entire cycle. Still, I stick swear by a load of “wax” time.

ANGLER SHARK REVENGE – AGAIN: Recall the movie “Jaws?”

That’s a bit of a joke, son. Most beachgoers and waveriders haven’t been the same since seeing that diabolical piece of flesh-severing cinema.

Anyway, in “Jaws,” there is a short but vengefully memorable scene where aroused anglers, in response to a killer shark in their midst, assumed roles as avenging angels. They were shown going gaff-happy on any sharks they could find around Amity Island.

While that scene of was fully cinematic, a concurrent worldwide rampage against one-and-all sharks arose in the wake of the movie. The post-“Jaws shark slaughterfest was grotesquely real. Shark slaughter got so appalling that the late Pete Benchley, architect of the Jaws phenomena, spent his final years trying to right the wrong he felt he had done in demonizing sharks. He preached that sharks are the most vital apex predator in the ocean.

As most fishermen know, the Save the Sharks effort, in the wake of “Jaws” and in the face of over fishing, has gone a bit gonzo.

In America, virtually every large sharks is protected as if pets. Most are under full don’t-touch moratoriums. Much of the planet has also gone vehemently conservational regarding sharks. And arguably the most protected shark of all is the great white, a man-eater -- second only to the bull shark.  

Well, in response, great whites are coming back with something closely resembling a vengeance.

Off Australia, four people have been killed in just the past 14 months. Most notably, a 32-year-old American, George Thomas Wainwright, died at the jaws of great white. He had been on a diving tour in Western Australia. He was one of 13 people killed worldwide this year – three times the normal.

While the Oz government more or less shrugged off its locals being sharked to death, having its billion-dollar tourist industry mauled caused that nation’s conservational gloves to go flying. West Australian authorities issued an order to capture and kill the great white shark involved in the incident.

Per media reports, hired anglers set six baited lines in waters off Rottnest Island, where Wainwright died. No sharks were caught fitting the description of the killer so the dragnet (of sorts) was expanded outward. Still, no luck. Finally, experts said the fish had gotten away by moving well offshore.

Expectedly, shark conservationists (sharkervationists?) went ballistic over a nation breaking the planetary policy on babying great white. However, it turns out that it’s not only Australia having had it with great white antics. 

According to Christopher Neff, an American doing doctoral work at the University of Sydney, there were five shark hunt’s worldwide, all in the wakes of single or multiple attacks. There were 64 nonfatal encounters around the world so far this year.

Along with Australia’s shark search-and-destroy effort, similar hunts took place in the Seychelles, Reunion Island (Indian Ocean), Mexico and Russia.

The Seychelles government had the weirdest justification for evoking a massive shark hunt in its waters. Authorities there would pay fishermen to bring in dead sharks so the fishes could be cut open in hopes of finding the wedding band of a honeymooner killed by a shark while snorkeling off the island of Praslin. Hey, with the price of gold …

Reunion Island went shark hunting by saying it was doing “research” on which shark was biting people. It set no specific parameters for establishing guilty sharks for those that were innocent.

Neff is researching in a slightly different vein. His doctoral theme is “the politics of shark attacks.”  He is also a shark consultant in D.C. Hey, the U.S. leads the world in shark attacks.

Part of Neff’s doctoral work focuses on government policies aligning shark conservation policies and beach safety program.

“The central question is, how do governments develop public policies to protect endangered sharks, when the sharks may harm the public,” Neff was quoted as saying.  “Shark bite incidents on humans are among the most tragic, infrequent and fear-inducing experiences a person can have,” Neff added. “The goal of this research is to make beaches safer for people and to protect sharks from policies based on myths.”

As sharks respond to critical conservation measures, a whole new concept -- worthy of a doctoral dissertation -- swims in: Might the sharks that survived the catastrophic post-“Jaws” shark ridding and the commercial over-harvesting be both the toughest and the smartest?  Very likely. Might they be more aggressive or, at very least, be temperamentally divergent from the biomasses of previous eras? Again, very likely.

It sure seems that Neff better hurry up and formulate a worldwide plan whereby sharks and humans play well together. Regarding LBI, I can already feel the inching northward of southern shark species – considered the worst ocean playmates in the world.


CLASSIC TALK: The Classic spurted during the south winds on Friday, with a few scale-tested stripers on Saturday. However, things have gone dead quiet, post icy rain.

Note: The best way to monitor the Classic is to go to the weigh-in page:  http://www.visitlbiregion.com/fish/index.cfm?action=viewResults . Once there, play with the down and up arrows. I go to “Weight” and “date,” click the down arrow and see the heaviest fish first and the most recent hookups, bottom of “Date” column. There is sometimes a gap in the time you weigh in a fish and when it shows. That has to do with the slight delay as shops get the data – as a fish is weighed in – and when the shop emails the info into home base at the Chamber.

I’m a bit shocked and utterly pleased with the 758 anglers already entered into the Classic. That showing of surfcasters flies in the face of a piss-poor economy, but might reflect boat anglers who pulled vessels out early but still want to compete. What’s more, there is still tons of Classic left – and the biggest bluefish and bass far from being even remotely met. Jump in and enjoy the upcoming colder water bass and blues craziness.  

RUNDOWN: This coming week, chunk baits (bunker, clams) will once again rule the surfcasting days – easily beating out plugging.

If you want to plug while a chunking rod is also in play, deeper running jigs, Storm “Wildeyes” and such, might draw some striper takes, though smaller fish.

Also, try throwing the likes of large Rat’L’Traps, using a jigging motion so they run deep. Best of all, allow the Rat’L’Trap to first settle to the bottom, then rip it upward with a jigging motion.

There are again a few bluefish showing up in the system. I know this arrival of gators isn’t to the liking of everyone but I’m a huge slammer fan from way back, especially the way mega-blues will plaster plugs – and big jigs.

The biggest non-tourney blue I ever took was late fall in Brant Beach, using a round white Corky’s 1-ounce jig with bucktail and an added stubby plastic tail – no steel leader. The massively mouthed monster was in the low 20s (lbs) – and then some, per those who saw me catch-and-release it. The three anglers in the vicinity all said they had never seen a blue that big. I sure hadn’t. That was the year (I’m guessing early 1990s) when insanely large blues were around for much of the fall.

Ocean temps have slid into the 50, though not by much. Still too warm in there.

With cold runoff out of the bay, expect any bigger blues to hang thereabouts, though passing along the beachfront when going from one inlet (Barnegat) to the next (Beach haven/Little Egg.

YO ESTOY UN DUMBO ASSO: Responding to a huge number of requests (literally dozens, verbally and on-line), I decided to run out and photograph a family unit of huge coyote I’ve been monitoring in a very backwoods area of Little Egg Harbor.


Brandishing a top-notch camera from work, I did a late-day hike to an ancient, rustically-decrepit deer stand located well up an oak tree.

Running behind on my dusk-based timetable – needing some light to shoot – I reached the tree on the fly and wasted no time strapping the camera over my neck, pushing it onto my back.


Getting up to the stand is no mean matter. The first nailed in piece of 2-by-4 -- one of seven acting as a ladder -- is way up. It takes a hop to get a foot onto it, while simultaneously grabbing the next rung above it for upper-body support. The wooden rung pieces have been there so long they’re partially embedded into the tree, overgrown by bark.


I nailed the initial leap and grab. It was an easy ascent from here – or so I thought.


As I got my hand onto maybe the fifth 2-by, I looked up to plan my hoist into the stand, a doubly decrepit wooden platform from, I’m guessing, the 1930s. Then, a seemingly minor thing: the camera slipped off my back and swung to my left side. Even though it was soundly strapped over my neck, I launched into a knee-jerk panic grab, i.e. a truly dumb-ass move.


I kinda sorta recall adroitly grabbing the non-falling camera with my left hand. Then came this bright white burst of light  – and it wasn’t from the camera’s strobe accidentally going off. In a flash, I was on my back, on the ground, hitting down like a load of lead.


It was a stunner. I hadn’t thought I was up that high. The numbing impact, brain flash and indentation in the ground proved me wrong. I was doubly stunned by how instantaneously things went south. Juts like that, I was up in a tree, and then I was looking up at a tree. For some reason I envision any fall as this documentable descent, where time suddenly hits the brakes, kinda like, “I’m fallllllllll-ing. Now I’m half done falllll-ing. Next I’ll be done falllll-ing” Screw that theory.


Soon after the fall, my mind quickly lost interest in whereabouts and focused on what-abouts, as in what about my back, my spine, my neck, my kidneys and, most of all, my iliohypogastric nerve? The mind can wonder about some weird things after a sudden impact. Everything seemed fine. Nothing instantly ached. Rising slowly, I looked down and noted no body parts remained on the ground.


Having taken some horrorocious knocks in my life, I was all too aware of the subtleties of oft-silent internal mayhem. Opting to cancel the coyote shoot, I hiked fairly rapidly back to my truck, spurred on by a long-standing fear of going down in no-man’s land -- and not being found until my body had assumed “dental records” condition. 


Hauling myself into my truck, I still felt no pain commensurate with a damn-decent ground strike. Gladly assuming a “Well, that’s that” attitude, I rushed off to a nearby auction, arriving there in maybe ten minutes.

All but forgetting the fall, I jumped out of the truck. And up jumps a back pain from the deepest recesses of what I could only guess was my iliohypogastric nerve.


When I don’t stay for an auction, you know something’s wrong in Mannsville. The only thing I felt like bidding on was the effectiveness of extra-strength Ibuprofen capsules I had back home. I all but flew my GMC back to Ship Bottom. And I virtually never speed -- unless there’s a bass blitz taking place on the beach or they’re having “bag” clothing sale at the SOCH Old and New Shop.


Barely able to hobble into my house, I had visions of my entire fall being spent in some formidable back brace.

I took the pills and eased onto my bed, thankful that at least the net casting season was already over.

At this time, I’d like to belatedly thank my late mom and dad for sporting superior survival genes and passing them to me. The killer back pains fell to the OTC analgesics. Though I’m not yet pushing 100 percent, back-wise, that dumb-ass drop could easily have been a backbreaker. Instead, I’ve called the coyotes to reschedule a photo shoot. 

FALLS CAN BE FOREVER:  My adventure as a meteorite now has me highly attuned to the dangers of deer stand plunges.

Dozens of studies, along with stats from the Centers for Disease Control, show that hunters bite the bullet from falls more often than from accidental shootings, something like 10 to 1. In fact, one study suggests that deer stand falls may be the deadliest danger for outdoorsmen, even above drowning.

With deer hunting season upon us, you might want to look into the new stand harnesses. These low-encumbrance vests are meant to secure a hunter in place when atop a deer stand, should he doze off or suffer a brain lapse and grab for a dropping item. Of course, the harnesses sure won’t prevent one from falling backward while ascending up to a stand. Only previous experience – or the numbnuts experiences of others --  will alleviate careless climbing. 


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