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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Sunday Dec. 13, 09 -- A tad too drippy

It took me a second or two to grasp the above photo. You may want to ponder it a second or two. It’s in reality a hilarious Christmas display – one the local police politely requested be taken down, after the officers made a panic stop and rushed to the decoration’s aid. Sunday, December 13, 2009: Waves: Building 3-4 foot south swell. Prior to the spit and soak we have today, yesterday had a goodly flow of anglers unmoved by wind-chills and inclined to enjoy the lack of pressure that pulls in with December surfcasting. More than a few casters were mobiles, taking the easy route to schoolie bass (on clams) by staying in the driver’s seat until rod tips acted up. The winds actually took its good cold time tuning down yesterday so the boat action was scant, though I had a late-day bass left off at my house by a crew of a bay boat session. The filets went straight to needy folks. Look for the coming week to offer a couple nice fishing windows. It won’t be balmy but after the single-digit wind chills of late, the forecasted highs in the 50s will seem short-sleeve-ish. Even when we get an arriving cold burst midweek, the winds shouldn’t be overly nasty. One thing to watch: there’s a disturbing seed’s worth of weather deciding whether or not to go low-pressure all the way down in the Gulf. Any disturbance down there this time of year can grow ugly in an up-the-coast heartbeat. For now, though, the upcoming week looks user friendly. SIGN-UP OR DROP-OUT: I had a couple (lengthy) calls at work regarding the arriving sign-up for the saltwater registry, a.k.a. salwat3r fishing license. Both callers voiced identical fears that singing up – even for a non-fee year – essentially commits us to a for-certain saltwater fishing license? Being bred within a generation that lived by the water-holding mandate “never volunteer.” I also feel the sense that such the required practice sign-up is surely unadvisedly volunteering information – and vicariously accepting the premise. However, there is a little something called the law. If you’re so inclined, you can sidestep such a severe term as “the law” by calling the registry/license softer words like mandate, directive, or regulation (though it technically is not a reg), but if you don’t abide by whatever it is, bad things can definitely happen. First, there are wallet-whacking things like fines. Then, up comes a loss of fishing privileges. Finally, (yes) you can be incarcerated. When you’re sitting in lock-up, it’ll be hard to tell the difference between your seemingly lightweight violation versus folks in there who broke actual law laws. My point is the obvious one: there is no legal alternative that I can see but to sign up – or abandon angling. That sounds kinda harsh; though I’ve heard some folks bandy about just such radical responses. Personally, I’m pondering offering myself as a hardship case. “Hey, I don’t catch s*** when I do fish, so how about letting me slide until the planet ends in 2012?” I should also add that there is still recourse even if we all play nice and voluntarily participate in the first-year-free sign-up game. During 2011, some miracle eleventh-hour moves might see the state of NJ paying for the registry (no chance at all, but hey …) or the registry gets so unworkable in states already adopting it that it simply gets abandoned (anorectically skinny chance of that) or it might not meet long-term legal muster in the courts. That court thing is the best chance of all, but with odds a lot like that long tall Texan and Mother Teresa: Slim and nun. I think I’ll go through the on-line sign-up process this week and see where it takes me. And I have to admit is always spooks me to hand out a load of info that can be dumped into that fat file they keep on me -- secreted somewhere deep in the federal bowels of D.C. “The Mann Chronicles.”

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