Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

      Friday, March 04, 2011:   Some cold winds off the ocean today. I zipped to the mainland to dig a bit. On the way there, I stopped at a private lake – private property – and did some pickerel fi…




Friday, March 04, 2011:


Some cold winds off the ocean today. I zipped to the mainland to dig a bit. On the way there, I stopped at a private lake – private property – and did some pickerel fishing. Yes, I have permission. 

Using what I consider the best pickerel lure going, the Heddon Torpedo, I made five casts had five V-shaped wakes coming full-bore from the shallows, as hungry fish cast caution to the wind to attack.

I landed three fish, all of which were quite plump. Not that there’s ever been much debate but that chubbiness proves pickerel absolutely feed beneath the ice. In fact, I’m guessing it’s pretty much doomsday for a forage fish seeing an approaching pickerel in icy water. No out swimming to escape when metabolisms are down to cold storage levels.

I shortened my session because I had moronically left my dehooking pliers back home – a calamity when pickerel fishing. I take super good care of pickerel, taking care and time unhooking and releasing them -- despite at least a 50-50 chance that the fish has taken a lure into the gullet. In fact, I unhook the majority of my pickerel through the gill plate, pulling the plug out and biting off the lure.



With some lightness left before I had to go to an auction in Tuckerton, I stopped at a newer bottle dump, dating back to the 1930s and 40s. It’s been good for old milk bottle. Things were real slow with my only decent item being a sterling spoon -- always a nice bit of treasure, especially with silver prices going crazy. However, it wasn’t until I checked the spoon at home that history all but poured off it – offering a healthy dose of local lore. Removing a black coating of tarnish, I saw the handle read, “Cuba Mail Line.”

Researching, I found out that the Cuba Mail Line was a cruise line that arose after a sudden name change by the world famous Ward Line. Things got quite bizarre when I read why the Ward Line, in big business since the mid-1800s, changed its name. Simply put, it was a single sinking – and some bad press after that.

So what Ward Line ship sunk and essentially forced the company to change its name? The SS Morro Castle.

If that rings a bell, it should. The SS Morro Castle was arguably the most popular cruise from New York to Havana. That popularity got a dose of cold water when it got caught in the guts of a ferocious nor’easter in 1937.

Here’s a Wiki excerpt that brings the final days of the ship into our own backyard: “At around 2:50 a.m. on September 8, while the ship was sailing around eight nautical miles off Long Beach Island, a fire was detected in a storage locker within the First Class Writing Room on B Deck. Within the next 30 minutes, the Morro Castle became engulfed in flames. …”

Now that I jarred your memory, you’re likely flashing to those legendary photographs of the burnt out SS Morro Castle smoldering on the beach at Asbury Park.

You probably lost mental track of my spoon but how cool is that connection to local lore?


The following news story is a long way off but it’s good to see species coming back to life, thanks to conservation and, I’m guessing, sustainability standards.

[seafoodnews.com] March 4, 2011- The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game has released its state wide salmon forecast for 2011, except for Chinook, and the outlook is excellent. 

The statewide commercial salmon harvest for 2011 is forecast to total 203 million salmon of all species. This would be the fifth largest total harvest, and fourth highest pink salmon harvest, since Alaska became a state and took over the management of its fisheries in 1960. All major pink salmon producing areas are expected to produce abundant harvests. Statewide sockeye and chum salmon are also expected to generate excellent harvests, with chum salmon predicted to provide the fifth largest harvest since 1960.

The statewide Chinook salmon forecast is not yet available, because the Southeast Alaska Chinook harvest quota is set under the terms of the Pacific Salmon Treaty. The Southeast Alaska quota will not be released by the Pacific Salmon Commission until late March or early April. 

The 2011 harvest forecasts for the other four salmon species are 45.1 million sockeye salmon, 4.7 million coho salmon, 133.7 million pink salmon, and 19.2 million chum salmon. 
These forecasts are based on quantitative projections of next year's salmon run using information on previous spawning levels, smolt outmigrations, returns of sibling age classes, and recent survival rates observed for hatchery releases.

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