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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Saturday, September 04, 2010: The day out there is a piece of perfection. The winds aren’t to the liking of many boaters with SCA in effect but there’s a bit of a chill and a humidity flirting with a…

Saturday, September 04, 2010: The day out there is a piece of perfection. The winds aren’t to the liking of many boaters with SCA in effect but there’s a bit of a chill and a humidity flirting with as low as it gets in summer. I noticed a ton of travelers waited until this a.m. to come down. It’s a smart move considering yesterday’s iffyness.

I heard very few fishing reports. What I did hear was mainly how to get in the final few fluking days. I did get an email about some folk who tried chumming and panfishing near the Fish Factory. They got into weakfish, blues and a few kingfish. “The kids had a blast. They had only ever been bobbe4r fishing in freshwater so when we switched to bobbers they felt very comfortable. I even taught the oldest how to jig when we had fish up to the boat. …” I emailed back that they would have had a greater variety of fish if they had used shrimp for chum and bait. They used some frozen clam/mussel chum logs left from winter floundering. I was a bit surprised that the weakfish (very small) were drawn to that chum but I guess that’s part of their diet. Speaking of those (very small) weakfish, I’ve gotten a lot of reports of these sub-spikes. I have to think that’s a spark of hope on an otherwise hideous outlook for that species. I’ll note again that weakfish recovery is way more complicated than other popular gamefish. Even when nursed – as they are now with a near moratorium – they seem to be suffering from some natural factors working against them. I have to agree with scientists that too much nitrogen in bay areas is lousing up the spawns. As you know, weakfish go deep into the backbay to spawn, right into the jaws of nitrogen problems. Not only might the chemical imbalance screw up the actual spawn but the low-oxygen conditions created in the shallows as algae over-bloom could suffocate the weakfish larvae or even drive them into deeper water – and certain doom in the mouths of predators, like snapper blues, fluke and even their own kind, i.e. spikes which arrive in the bay just as weakfish young-of-year are most vulnerable.

Per usual for this time of ear, I’m hearing about a load of small seabass, baitstealers essentially. Seabass are yet another bulldoggish species. They nurse in the same shallows zone as weakfish but these little brutes have nasty dorsals at a young age and aren’t overly put off by bayside chemicasl swings, though even seabass suffer if the chemcistry isn’t right for the moment of spawning.

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IMPORTANT: There is a mounting effort to fight a possible federal “lead ban” action that would make it totally illegal for us to use our tens of thousands of tons of carefully shaped – and refined – surf sinkers. It would also sink the use of our jigs. The primary effort to ban lead even suggest brass spinner blades and beads be included because they contain lead.

The effort to have lead banned from all fishing gear is, at once, alarming and suspicious, science-wise.

Below is an article out of D.C. about the effort to ban all lead fishing items. As you know, a lot of attention was previously paid to the tiny shotgun “shot” made of lead. Those pieces seemed small enough to allow bottom feeding birds and fish to ingest them. The ban was allowed, in part. However, the suggestion that large sinkers and jigheads are leading to lead poisoning is very bizarre – and sounds more like radical green groups are predictably groping for something to keep them in the headline – and in big-bucks sponsorship. What’s more, the estimates that 10 to 20 millions animals die each year from lead poisoning is almost insane. As you know, I’m in the woods more than anyone you know – out of vehicle, that is – and I think I would have come across some of these 20 million annual keel-overs. Also, the notion that “nearly 500 peer-reviewed scientific articles that the environmental groups said document the toxic effects of lead on wildlife” is deceptive. Most of those studies not only harken back to shotgun pellet research but were merely extrapolations of how laboratory findings MIGHT trickle down to a natural environments. What’s more, the concept of peer-review is as suspect as data itself. One purchased scientist is reviewed by other purchased scientists. The tobacco industry proved for nearly 50 years that scientists can be bought – and taught to jump through the most insanely unscieitfic hoops possible.

I’m not saying all the science is bogus in this case but “500 per reviewed studies” all proving 20 million animals die from lead poisoning? Total and absolute bullwhip – “bullwhip” is what my spellchecker offers when I write the bull**** word. Hey, works for me. Bullwhip sounds kinda cool.

Off the wires:

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has denied a petition by five environmental groups to ban lead in hunting ammunition, saying the issue is not within the agency's jurisdiction.

The EPA said Friday it did not have the authority to enact the ban, aimed at protecting wildlife, under the Toxic Substances Control Act, as the groups had requested.

But the agency said it's still reviewing another part of the petition, to ban lead fishing sinkers.

The EPA informed one of the groups, American Bird Conservancy, of the decision in a letter.

The groups had argued in their petition that millions of animals are dying from eating lead-shot pellets or carcasses contaminated by lead. They said an estimated 10 million to 20 million birds and other animals die each year from lead poisoning in the U.S.

In a petition filed earlier this month, the environmental groups argued that instances of lead poisoning from ammunition and fishing sinkers "present an unreasonable risk of injury" to both human health and the environment.

The petition cited nearly 500 peer-reviewed scientific articles that the environmental groups said document the toxic effects of lead on wildlife.

These studies "conclude that the lead components of bullets, shotgun pellets, fishing weights and lures pose an unreasonable risk of injury to human and wildlife health and the environment," the Aug. 3 petition argued.

The EPA was required to respond to the petition within 90 days.

"EPA is taking action on many fronts to address major sources of lead in our society such as eliminating childhood exposure to lead," Steve Owens, the agency's assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention said in a statement.

But he said the agency "was not and is not considering taking action on whether the lead content in hunting ammunition poses an undue threat to wildlife."

The environmentalists were sharply critical of the EPA decision, arguing the agency has the authority to act and that there is a wide range of non-lead ammunition available.

"The EPA had ample evidence that lead bullets and shot have a devastating effect on America's wildlife, yet has refused to do anything about it," said Darin Schroeder, vice president for conservation advocacy at the American Bird Conservancy, one of the petitioners. "It's disappointing to see this country's top environmental agency simply walk away from the preventable poisoning of birds and other wildlife."

Also signing the petition were the Association of Avian Veterinarians, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and Project Gutpile.

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