Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Monday, November 01, 2010:

(Donations are graciously accepted – and badly needed. Jay Mann, 222 18th Street, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008-4418)

Weather is perfect, with winds coming out of the north – and picking up a tad. It should be enough to stir the shoreline. Onshore winds (related to Carolina low) should hike up the bass potential through much of the upcoming week. North winds aren’t as much a striper spark as southerlies but they could bring large rogue bass into casting distance for surfcasters.

I talked with Barnegat Light Mike down at Barnegat Bait and Tackle, he said the bass bite was decent over the weekend. He also helped me out by tracking down the opening date of what is essentially togging season. Start training your crabs for a November 14 launch date. After that you can keep 6 fish. As I’ve oft noted in here, there are a great many folks – myself amongst – who feel blackfish are as challenging and hard fighting a species as we have.

Two folks emailed that they took large bass – one near 30 pounds – on plugs. Both were using black artificials. One was a Bomber. The other – bigger bass – was a custom-made swimmer.

If anyone knows the finals for the Sea Shell Striped Bass Derby please email me those finishes -- ASAP – so I can them in here.

Here’s the results for the Red Men Striper tourney. :

The Improved Order of Red Men Tribe #61 held their Annual Striped Bass Tournament October 22-23-24, 2010.

This 10TH Anniversary Dedicated to the Memory of Robert R Suralik Sr. had 34 Boats participate.

Over the years, this Event has donated over $10,000 to Benefit the Pinelands Scholarships.


The Winners are:

STRIPED BASS (two fish):

Lucky Stripes/Capt. Mike Greene 79.94 lbs

Reel Crazy/Capt. Bob Conrad 68.62 lbs

Angler/Capt. Oley Zhushma 64.56 lbs

Heaviest Striper:

Long Point/Capt. Bob Rutter 41.90 lbs 49 ½

Blue Fish (one fish):

XXX/Capt. Tom Lutzi 13.01 lbs

Lucky Stripes/Capt. Mike Greene 10.08 lbs

Good Times/Capt. Jim Kelly 0.47 lbs

Youth Anglers:

Michael Quintenz, Mason Griffiths, Deven Waldron, Darren Waldron, Matt Beswick, Tom Hartley, Autumn Hartley, Sam Hutchinson, Dylan Hutchinson


BUGGY BANTER: If you get stuck in the sand, the Island is serviced by South Shore Towing, (609) 597-9964.


“I just got a used ‘buggy’ (SUV) the owner had never driven off road. I got stuck as soon as I drove on the beach. Yes, I took air out. The four-wheel drive had gone out. The former owner made good with repairs. Now I’m worried this is going to be a chronic problem. Any insights?”

The trick is to find out who worked on the problem. That mechanic will surely know the potential for an aggravating repeat of that 4WD loss. Odds are really good that you’re fixed for many moons to come – providing you faithfully use the 4WD.

I’m not at all surprised that the problem occurred when that SUV’s 4WD was used for possibly the first time – as is often the case with bought for looks SUVs. When a 4WD vehicle is driven for tens of thousands of miles without ever once calling on the 4WD, things can quite literally snap when sudden – and fierce – 4WD demand is made via deep sand. I have even seen a new high-end 4WD vehicle go down on its maiden beach voyage onto the sands of Ship Bottom. In that case, the vehicle had a mere three or four months of highway use without 4WD being called upon.

Again, I think you’ll be fine with the repaired buggy – and you’ll surely get a helluva lot more fun out it than the former owner. But, just to be safe, first drive a few Pinelands backroads, particularly those that offer a grab bag of hardpack, gravel and sugar sand conditions.

Driving Pinelands roads is also a super way to acclimate your untested SUV to 4WD usage. Just make absolutely sure to return to 2WD when back on the highway. Driving dry asphalt at high speed while in 4WD can be lethally dangerous when making quick turns.


Those always-zany needlefish are out there poking around – again.

In the past, I’ve reported news stories of needlefish skipping across the surface of water, targeting forage fish, but imbuing humans who just mis-happen to be in their line of leap. The results have ranged from mere glancing pokes to horrific, even fatal, hits. According to a story in the Miami Herald, Karri Larson, 46, of Cudjoe Key, Fla. is now on the “horrific” list, the latest victim of fish-based fly-by stabbing.

Last weekend, Larson was tranquilly kayaking with a friend in the gorgeous mind-clearing waters of some isolated islands near Big Pine Key. That tranquility ended in a odd and awful instant. One minute she was serenely paddling turquoise shallows, the next she was gasping for air, skewered by a large needlefish.

What was most likely a 4-foot needlefish, a variety known as houndfish, had gone airborne, possibly spooked by the quiet arrival of the paddlers.

Houndfish is constantly on the menu or barracuda, sharks and other voracious predators. It’s no stranger to explosive escape moves. In this case, it was estimated the skitterish shallows-dweller gained three feet of fear-induced altitude. In its flight path was Larson’s back. The fish’s beak-like snout penetrated Karri’s back muscles, passing between her ribs and instantly puncturing her lung.

Her fellow kayaking partner, not fully aware of what had transpired, called for help.

Though I truly sympathize with the Larson’s injury, I’m hoping they’ll someday release the 9-11 recording of that incoming call. Hell, even I’m not sure how I’d word that call – and still be taken seriously.

A team of paramedics and volunteer firefighters jumped aboard boats usually used for towing. The group managed to locate the gravely injured woman, despite no exact GPS markers and fighting unusually low tides.

“She was scared. We were all scared,'' volunteer firefighter Kevin Freestone was quoted as saying. ``She was in a very bad way. She was in a lot of pain and her breathing was weak.''

The woman was rushed to a marina where she was medivaced to an emergency care hospital 100 miles away, where she was stabilized but remained in serious condition.

Per follow-up reports, there was at first some confusion over what type fish had pierced Larson’s back. The primary suspect, a barracuda, was replaced by the houndfish.

``That long snout would be a reasonably good weapon, like an arrow, if it jumped out of the water,'' said George Burgess, University of Florida director of the Florida Program for Shark Research.

Houndfish have been implicated in other fish stabs in Florida. In 2000, one stabbed a teenage girl in the neck. It narrowly missed her carotid artery. In Malaysia, a fisherman was killed when a four-foot needlefish pictured his lung.

When living in Hawaii, I heard about – and saw -- a number of hits to the faces of surfers and swimmer by smaller needlefish. One of those was a fatality.

I used to use my underwater metal detector at night in the shallows of Waikiki. That’s when needlefish use their surface-skipping feeding method, whereby a dozen of more simultaneously leave the water and skip across the surface at astounding speeds, covering 15 feet or more in nothing flat. It became so dangerous that I abandoned after dark treasure hunting in the water.


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