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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Saturday, January 18, 2020: Typical January coldness has moved in, accompanied by a splash of freezing rain

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Karen Gregory

What a lovely mind collected these. They called it nature dancing.

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With a headline that stopped many striper fishermen in their tracks, the Virginian-Pilot reported yesterday of a “world record striped bass caught and released off Cape Charles.” The striper, however, is not in the size class of the current 81.88-pound IGFA world record striped bass caught in Connecticut in 2012. Instead, the 48-inch striped bass caught and released by West Virginia angler Alex Foster, while certainly a big striper, nabbed the IGFA’s All-Tackle Length Release Category, a category created in 2011 that hasn’t received the same attention as their weight-based record categories.

Foster’s 48-inch striped bass is expected to replace the current C+R record of 46 inches, caught off NJ by Captain Frank Crescitelli. The 48-inch mark is certainly vulnerable, as we have multiple striped bass over 50 inches caught and released in our Striper Cup tournament every year. The next record holder could be you, if you’re willing to take the time to meet the IGFA’s requirements, purchase their $49 ruler, and pay the associated fees.

Or, you could go after the bluefish record of 34 inches, currently held by “The Chicken Man” Wade Boggs. Then you’d be able to say that you beat Boggs.

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Curious what everyone's most productive metal lip swimmer or big fish catcher was this past year , every year for me is different ,but last year the lights out big Danny and ccw jointed

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New Jersey's bald eagle recovery is an astounding example of conservation in action. Not to sound jaded but it's no longer an overly rare thing to spot them in Southern Ocean County, especially in fall and winter. Last month, I saw a grouping of five young ones in Holgate having themselves a good old time in Holgate, mainly over the the ocean. The proper term for a packs of eagles, convocation, sounds entirely too stodgy.  

The bald eagle nesting population and young in New Jersey from 1982 to 2019.

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Reprinted From the January 2020 JCAA Newspaper

By Tom Fote

Bluefish: I was never so disappointed with Council and Commission members as I was when they failed to point out that NMFS has been transferring quota to the commercial sector from the unused recreational quota for years. Tens of millions of pounds of bluefish have been caught by commercial fishermen since the late 90’s using the “so called” unharvested recreational quota. With the new MRIP numbers, it becomes apparent that NMFS should never have been transferring quota for all these years. NMFS, not the fishermen, have gotten us into this situation. But they will not suffer any economic impact. They will not lose any salary for the mistakes they have made. But they will certainly punish the recreational and commercial fishermen for NMFS mistakes. As always, we take it on the chin for their bad data and, once again, the commercial and recreational fishermen are the bad guys because we were overfishing. Understand, fishermen don’t create the regulations. That is the job of NMFS. When they don’t do their job correctly, the fishing industry suffers. In the last few years, NMFS has succeeded in putting many businesses that serve the recreational and commercial communities out of business. Once again, there was absolutely no reference to the economic impact of these new regulations and Magnusson Stevens was totally ignored. For the recreational community, there will be reduction to a 3-fish bag limit, down from 15. For the for-hire sector, the decrease will be from 15 to 5. For the commercial fishery, the reduction will be 18%. No one from NMFS admitted this was their fault and, as always, blamed us for over fishing.

With the party and charter boats and the private boats, there has always been a discussion about whether there should be separate regulations. Years ago, the recreational industry, considering the pros and cons, decided separate regulations would not work. If you do sector separation regulations correctly, they are based on quotas; one for the private and surf and one for the for-hire sector. This would get us fighting among ourselves as we see in the Gulf of Mexico. It would also stifle the growth of the party and charter boat industry. When you set up quotas, you set them up based on historical catch. Often when the availability is low on a species, party and charter boats will fish for something else so their customers need to catch fish. This skews the historical data. When the stocks become abundant and other party and charter boats want to fish on that species, they are confined to the low percentage. If you are not in a separate sector, no one cares if the party and charter boats catch more fish since we are all recreational anglers. That is why we did not create separate sectors with these new regulations. We did not want to play one sector of the community against another. NMFS wouldn’t mind since that would move the heat from them.

Since NMFS followed no rules in creating the new regulations, all the above discussion is moot. Sector separation was never part of the amendment or addendum on bluefish. It has never been used as a tool for bluefish. There is no precedent. And the results followed none of the normal rules. The public had no idea that this would be proposed and so the public was not represented at these decisions. There was no transparency. As always, no questions were accepted through the webinar. The one for-hire sector participant in the audience was always for sector separation without understanding the consequences for the recreational sector at large. There is no way to effectively monitor this and no penalties were built in. This was a travesty of fisheries management and I cannot believe not one of the Commissioners or Council members raised these objections.

The most depressing part is many recreational anglers from Maine to Florida began their fishing for snappers. I am teaching my young great nephews and nieces to fish by catching

snappers off my dock. I also teach them we should eat what we catch and at a limit of 3 snappers, do we stop fishing or fish and release. All those piers in Seaside will need to limit the young anglers as they learn to fish. What NMFS has accomplished is to reduce the growth of the recreational sector. The recreational fishery coastwide was down by 24% in 2019. There are plenty of fish but we can’t keep them. The decrease in participation continues to get worse year by year. If you can’t catch a fish to keep, many anglers don’t bother to go fishing. They also don’t bother to teach their children or grandchildren how to fish. The next generation doesn’t learn to be stewards of the resource. We are watching the demise of recreational fishing and the industries that depend on fishing.


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Over the years I’ve had a ton of people asking for white or bone colors.

New for thiBone base with a light mist of gold on the back and sides, topped off with a light coat of black.

I plan on doing a bunch this year for the shows in this color along with the tried and trues of old school colors.

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From ... John McMurray

A long read, but Tony gets it right here. For the most part, states try and use Conservation Equivalency responsibly. But there are almost always one or two that don't. As a concept CE makes sense given the obvious difference between states' fisheries. But there r two states who seem intent on screwing it up for everyone. And that sucks. Amendment 7, likely initiated in May, will be a good opportunity to have a serious discussion about removing it from the toolbox all together. I fully understand that will hurt some states who used it the way it was supposed to be used. But, well, those two states have left us little choice.

As we fight for the recovery of striped bass, some states are using conservation equivalency to continue unsustainable harvest while others try to do the right thing Tony Friedrich VP/Policy Direct: 
SALTWATERGUIDESASSOCIATION.COM

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Here's the form to fill out if you spot a rare form of wildlife. 

https://www.njfishandwildlife.com/ensp/pdf/rptform.pdf

Image result for Rare Wildlife Sighting Report Form"

Here are some of the rarer creatures (in NJ) worthy of reporting ... https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/tandespp.htm

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New study reveals international movements of Atlantic tarpon, need for protection

Electronic satellite tags deployed and tracked on 300 Atlantic tarpon, (Megalops atlanticus) in coastal waters of western central Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, including as far away as Mexico, Belize and Nicaragua showed that the mature tarpon make extensive seasonal migrations. Credit: Jiangang Luo, research scientist, University of Miami Rosenstiel School

The results of an 18-year study of Atlantic tarpon by scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science revealed that these large silvery fish take extensive seasonal migrations—1,000s of kilometers in distance—beyond U.S. borders. The new findings can help protect the fish, which is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN—International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the main draw of a more than $6 billion catch-and-release sport fishing industry in the United States.

"Our findings show that there is international connectivity in the U.S. multibillion-dollar recreational tarpon fishing industry," said Jerry Ault, UM Rosenstiel School professor and a co-author of the study. "This is of great importance to anglers and scientists alike to better understand and protect this valuable—and vulnerable—fish and the people who rely on it."

Atlantic tarpon, known as the Silver King, are considered one of the greatest saltwater sport fish due to their size and spectacular fighting ability. They can reach up to eight feet (2.5 meters) long and weigh up to 355 pounds (161 kilograms), with an average speed of 35 miles per hour.

While tarpon fishing is predominately catch-and-release in the United States, subsistence and commercial harvests of tarpon occurs in many other countries. Sport fishing for tarpon is also very popular in other countries.

Despite the history and importance of recreational catch-and-release fishing for tarpon in the U.S., Atlantic tarpon are now threatened throughout their range by recreational fishing release mortality, directed commercial harvests, intensive harvesting of key prey species, and habitat degradation, said the scientists.

"A myriad of professional charter boat captains in the Florida Keys rely on tarpon fishing bookings as their principal source of income," said the study's lead author Jiangang Luo, a research scientist at the UM Rosenstiel School. "If the tarpon population declines, or alters their  due to climate changes, it would significantly affect lives and livelihoods in Florida and beyond."

Using the 18-year dataset, the researchers also found that shark predation on tarpon is more significant than previously known across the southeastern United States, Gulf of Mexico, and northern Caribbean Sea.

The study titled, "Migrations and movements of Atlantic  revealed by two decades of satellite tagging," was published in the Jan. 2020 issue of the journal Fish and Fisheries.

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Bob Maehrlein

Too much work, politics and stress. Got away for an hour to fish a local lake and was rewarded with this husky 3 lb plus chain pickerel. No other bites, but it felt good to make a few casts on an unfrozen lake in the middle of January. 

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(Some serious griping going on about the keeping of this grouper.)

350-pound grouper caught off Florida coast believed to be 50 years old

Published: Sunday, January 12, 2020 @ 9:29 PM

SEE: Giant grouper caught off Florida coasts believed to be 50 years old

— A 350-pound Warsaw grouper caught off the coast of Florida is believed to be 50 years old, making it the oldest documented fish in a Florida wildlife research program.

Jason Boyll caught the grouper Dec. 29, 2019, in about 600 feet of water with a hook and line in southwest Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission ....

“Acquiring the otolith from this fish was extremely valuable as samples from larger and older fish are rare,” wildlife officials said on social media.

Otoliths, or ear stones, are used to help researchers determine a fish’s age.

Pete Dahlberg is with Fritz Riedel and Joe Potter.
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Great couple of days on the water! Today was spectacular with endless great fish but yesterday was completely epic with the best “over 40” fish day I’ve had in quite a long time! Yesterday only a couple boats around, today, well, the word got out. Fog made for some tricky business out there for sure!

A great thing I saw today while looking around after the fog lifted was the true joy folks on other boats and mine were having while catching and releasing beautiful fish. Too bad the state of Maryland is going to turn off cold water catch and release. Very sad.

Yesterday guys on my boat caught numerous huge fish. Catching and releasing was a great thing. Watching these majestic stripers swim away is a beautiful thing.

All fish were caught on 10” BKD’s mounted on 2 ounce jig heads. The bite was incredible. With weather coming in these fish will probably be making a big move. Where to is anybodies guess. I know I’ll be out looking when the weather is right.

HumminbirdMinn KotaBackyard Custom RodsBassKandyDelights - BKDs Florida Fishing Products

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August 1, 1913 – Eight Whales Off Beach Haven
Beach Haven, July 26
One day this week while fishing off shore, James Sprague and James Jr. saw a school of eight whales, some of which were full grown and some were calves, according to the story they tell. The largest bull they figured to be about eighty feet long, and said it could be heard to “blow” two miles away. They shot a calf with a rifle, but it “sounded” and they could not tell whether they killed it or not but did not see it come up. The Spragues were out on the banks fishing for market at the time they sighted the school. In colonial days whaling off Long Beach brought the first settlers to the lower Jersey shore.

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