Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Wednesday, January 26, 2011: We meet again -- as storm troopers. I had hoped this wintry go’round we’d be talking in terms of normalcy – and pure raininess. We even got the normal onshore wind flow right along the coast. In fact, here on LBI we didn’t get so much as a dusting of snow – and plenty of rain. As near as Manahawkin, there was an inch or two of whiteness. Again, that’s usually a sign things are right in the wintery weather world.
Now, the freakiness might be set to pounce again.
A storm in Georgia today looks like it will move north, staying just inside the seaboard zone. It will then move off the Jersey shore and explode. With this setup come snow and rumors of snow. I’m mulling over the weather maps and I sure see what the computers are thinking, as this detonation point for the storm will surely introduce a more northerly tilt of cold-enough air, muscling out the NE winds, thus preventing the effects of the warmish ocean from doing its melt-ful stuff.
Somewhat oddly, I have seen computerized snow depth projections for LBI ranging from a mere couple inches clear up to over a foot. Obviously, that’s the confusion factor that is always in place when trying to predict things flush along the coastline. Yes, even computers get flustered when trying to exactify the forecast.
There aren’t many options short of waiting and watching. Up side is a seeming return to normal temperatures by next week. -wise. Nothing balmy is on the way (yet) but no deep freezes either.
In the meantime, I’ve gotten quite a few messages about that highly suspect striped bass theory aired on public broadcasting channels. I won’t honor it by displaying it in full form. Instead, go to http://www.npr.org/2011/01/25/133183300/atlantic-weather-may-be-key.... Make sure to read the comments below this article – just to see that I’m not the only one refusing to buy into this borderline bizarre theory.
Without going blog-ish on this article, I’m hoping it’s enough to say that I doubt very much the reason the striper stocks died off back in the 1980s was the weather. I still have dozen of photos of nets strung across Chesapeake spawning grounds, wherein virtually every breeding fish that spawned was being caught and sold for pennies a pound. I have to think that this study is either in cahoots with commercial fishing interests or part of the otherwise worthy effort to make striped bass a gamefish-only species.
Off the wires:
[Port Lincoln Times] By Cristopher Coote - January 26, 2011 -
Clean Seas Tuna has again managed to get its captive southern bluefin tuna broodstock to start spawning at the company's Arno Bay hatchery.
The fish started spawning late last week, which was when the company's scientists predicted it would happen.
Larval rearing trials are also underway at the hatchery, which has expanded over the past year to increase the company's grow out capabilities.
Clean Seas said it would update any significant progress in the southern bluefin tuna trials over the coming months but will retain confidentiality surrounding some of the operations.
The company has now successfully replicated the spawning process on a number of occasions and sent larvae to New South Wales and the Northern Territory for further grow out, however Clean Seas said it was not possible to anticipate any likely outcome of the latest round of spawning.
In other news, Clean Seas is likely to reduce its half yearly loss by 25 to 30 per cent compared to the same period last year with a restructuring of the business making the kingfish business cashflow positive.
Copyright © 2011. Fairfax Media.
[Anchorage Daily News] Jan 26, 2011-
© 2011. Anchorage Daily News. All Rights Reserved.
A 26-year-old state fisheries inspector has been charged in Unalaska with accepting an "unlawful gratuity" from Sig Hansen, captain of the F/V Northwestern, one of the crab boats featured on the Discovery reality series "Deadliest Catch," reports KUCB .
According to court documents, [Melanie] Bakker had scheduled the inspection with Sig Hansen, the captain of the Northwestern, for Saturday, January 15. Fish and Wildlife technicians regularly perform this type of gear inspection on weekends, and ADFG offers it as a courtesy. After the inspection occurred, the "Deadliest Catch" star offered to buy Bakker dinner. Bakker told police that she declined the invitation but that Hansen then insisted that she take a gift of $100. Bakker did not take the money immediately, but accepted the gift after Hansen persisted. During the time of the inspection, she was using a state vehicle and clocked in for one hour of work for the department.
Police received an anonymous tip last Wednesday that an act of corruption occurred and formally pressed misdemeanor charges on Friday. Because the gratuity was not solicited and because Hansen was not given preferential treatment because of the gift, Bakker is not being charged with bribery, which is a class A felony .
There's no response yet from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, nor any word on whether police think Hansen broke any law.
[Baltimore Sun] By Candus Thomson - January 26, 2011 -
ABOARD THE M/V SANDUSKY, For watermen who require safe passage to Chesapeake Bay oyster bars and fishing grounds each winter, the appearance of one of the state's four ice-breaking ships means money in the bank.
Like giant plows on an asphalt road, icebreakers have been carving channels from piers to open waters, clearing away dangerous sheets of ice that can idle the commercial fleet, or worse, punch through the hull of a fishing boat.
'Any ice at all is a real hazard for them,' Capt. Shawn Orr said Tuesday morning as he guided the 80-foot M/V Sandusky through a row of watermen's boats tied up at Kent Narrows. 'It's really important to them that we're here because they have to get out and make a living.'
As the Sandusky passed, a waterman working on his boat smiled and waved.
'We couldn't live without them,' said Larry Simns, president of the Maryland Watermen's Association. 'It's important to keep our products flowing to the market.'
Despite several periods of deep-freeze temperatures that jump-started the ice season on Chesapeake tributaries and harbors, this winter hasn't been particularly harsh. Many days of high winds brought warmer water to the surface and slowed ice buildup. But in shallower water and protected coves a 'fair amount' of ice has taken hold, Orr said.
Ice can be deceptive. Even the thin veneer surrounding the Sandusky at its Kent Narrows mooring - not enough to safely support a person - 'is enough to keep me from going out the way I wanted to,' said Orr, turning the ship's wheel slowly to negotiate the path of least resistance.
The translucent ice sheet made a grinding, booming sound beneath the Sandusky's steel hull. In its wake, chunks bobbed to the surface and swirled. On a return pass, the boat's propeller minced the ice into harmless pieces.
'The worst conditions I've ever seen was my first year, eight years ago,' said Orr. 'The whole Kent Narrows was just solid ice. Trying to make it out onto the Chester River, those ice floes were just packed in on top of one another and the ice was three feet thick in some places. It was slow going.'
The vessel is named for former Baltimore Colt offensive lineman Alex Sandusky, an avid angler who for 24 years was director of Waterway Improvement for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. In addition to Kent Narrows, the Sandusky is responsible for Rock Hall, Eastern Bay, large portions of the Chester and Miles rivers and Tilghman Creek.
John Gallagher, the chief of hydrographic operations for the DNR, acts like a deep-freeze disc jockey, taking phone requests from ice-bound communities, dredging companies and the marine industry. To anticipate need and have his vessels in the best locations, he consults a play list of historical trouble spots and recurring needs.
For example on Monday, the 50-foot tugboat Big Lou freed a yacht maintenance business in Cambridge. The M/V Widener left its winter home at Annapolis City Dock to clear a channel in a Magothy River tributary for a skipjack. The M/V Tawes, the state's largest icebreaker, left Crisfield at 5 a.m. yesterday to break out three inches of ice around Smith Island so the school boat could pick up students.
Sometimes, the job is a little more dramatic. Last month, the Sandusky broke up ice around Hart-Miller Island off Baltimore County, so Natural Resources Police officers could reach two duck hunters stranded in a storm.
'If we hadn't gone out there to break out the NRP cops, they would have had a tough time with that rescue mission,' Orr said.
The Sandusky, a buoy tender and the state's second-largest icebreaker, can tackle ice up to eight inches thick. But a six-inch slab 'will slow us down to three knots,' said Orr. 'Once it gets a foot thick, we have to hit it, bounce back and hit it again. It's a long, arduous process.'
The slight warming over the last few days hasn't allowed Gallagher to drop his guard, especially with another storm bearing down on the region.
'Ice just keeps popping up. The water lots of places is still around 33 degrees. It doesn't take much,' he said. 'We're just waiting for what comes next.