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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Sunday: Significant slowdown -- Not for Joe, though

(Donations greatly appreciated. Jay Mann, 222 18th Street, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008-4418. Paypal: jmann99@hotmail.com)

Sunday, November 21, 2010Hey, I’m tellin’ ya, it was super stripering yesterday. So you rushed down today and expected the bass to jump into your boat – or at your feet on the beach. What ya got instead was a damn decent sunburn for this late in the year. As for where exactly loads of bass manage go so quickly, you might ask fishing folks surf zones to our south -- where the bait showed today and so did the stripers.

As for LBI, it all but skid to a stop. A few surf stripers were tabulated but the number of folks languishing in Skunkland was pretty significant. Of course, when you’re on a trophy bass role the way Joe Kovacs is, it doesn’t matter what the pack is doing – or not doing. Today, Joe weighed in a 30-13. That sure sits nicely with his 51-16 from Nov. 4. And I finally got it straight: Joe has been in the Classic from the get-go.

While I didn’t hear of any boat bass bonanzas, it seemed better than the beach. In fact, the Barnegat Inlet seemed decent, Per this Walt P. email: “Got out this morning and headed south to the HC beach in hope of a repeat showing by yesterdays bass. All I saw were guys talking or sitting or asleep in chairs. Then to add insult to my trip down a brisk NE kicked in and I had to pound my way back to the inlet. There was a big fleet 2 mi off LL and there was also a fleet working the channel right outside the inlet entrance. South side of the channel to the bars. I did my drift across the channel starting at the north monument. Went 6 for 6 on my spot and had 3 keepers.

Tried my imitation plastic spot but nary a touch. The two fish I cleaned were full of sand eels. WP.”

That sand eel angle is a bit odd. Not that bass aren’t loading up on sand eels this time of year, but that wasn’t the case yesterday. I know it seems I’m always waxing optimistically, but whenever I hear of sand eels this thick in fall, I have to think in terms of a hot stripering December – and even beyond. Sand eels are winter spawners. I’ve seen balls of them in Beach Haven Inlet even in January. But we still have much bassing to go before we get to that later-day angling.

Oddity of the (yester) day: A 24-inch fluke taken on a live spot. Per the catcher, the spot might have been first worked by a bluefish. “I felt a hard hit then it backed off. I waited and felt a dead weight then a decent fight. The fluke was throat hooked and no spot. I used my extra-long pliers and got the hook out perfectly. That fish will be around next year,” I was told.

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[Victoria Times Colonist] by Randy Shore - Nov 19, 2010 -

Copyright © 2010 Victoria Times Colonist

A smouldering volcano in Alaska could be the smoking gun in the mystery of this year's massive sockeye return, a judicial inquiry into the health of the Fraser River sockeye has heard.

Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen was appointed last year to determine the cause of 2009's disastrously small sockeye returns, but the waters were muddied when more than 34 million sockeye returned in 2010, the biggest run in decades.

Simon Fraser University volcanologist Glyn Williams-Jones was asked by the commission to reflect on evidence that the August 2008 eruption of the Kasatochi volcano in Alaska may have spawned an algae bloom in the North Pacific that dramatically improved the food supply for Fraser River sockeye.

'The ash that came from that eruption blew south, southeast and dropped onto the surface of the ocean,' Williams-Jones said. 'There are some large-scale studies ... that suggest that iron dust in ash or from sandstorms could act like fertilizer.'

University of Victoria researcher Roberta Hamme suggested in a recent study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that the iron in the volcanic ash spurred an algae bloom that fed ocean-going zooplankton, a food source for sockeye.

Turbulent weather spread the dust over a large area, causing the largest algae bloom recorded in 12 years, Hamme said.

The article has sparked a lively debate among scientists. The journal Nature quoted SFU biologist Randall Peterman calling the idea 'far-fetched,' while University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre expert Carl Walters noted that a massive Fraser River salmon run in 1958 was preceded by a huge volcanic eruption on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Williams-Jones observed a parallel effect for Nicaraguan farmers whose crops were devastated by a volcanic eruption, after being showered with ash and pulverized rock.

'Years later that is actually lush, rich farmland because that ash is full of nutrients and minerals that break down very quickly with water,' Williams-Jones said. 'Broadly speaking, the studies show that a little bit of iron can be an important fertilizer.'

SFU biologist John Reynolds, who testified at the inquiry on concepts of conservation and sustainability late in October, remains skeptical of the volcano theory.

'We already know that the North Pacific was quite cold when these fish went to sea as juveniles,' Reynolds said. Cold waters are favourable to the food chains that support sockeye. 'There was a lot going for those fish already.'

'Put that together with the fact that every four years we have a big Adams River run and there was already a couple of things going in their favour,' he said.

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[MSNBC] - November 19, 2010 - Tags may reveal depths at which fish live, where they spawn and the seasonal migrations

Monkfish are ferocious-looking creatures sometimes nicknamed 'the poor man's lobster' thanks to their muscular, firm - when - cooked tails. But in spite of their relatively recent rise in popularity on Americans' dinner plates, their biology and behavior are poorly understood.

Now a team of researchers has received the first substantial data from a computer chip - toting monkfish. The data is part of a study in which researchers have implanted data storage tags under the skin of about 190 monkfish so far. These tags record depth and temperature every 10 minutes for up to five years, according to Anne Richards, a research fishery biologist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The team hopes the tags will reveal more about the depths at which the fish live, where they spawn and the seasonal migrations these angler fish seem to undertake along the Atlantic coast.

Since the study began, other fish have also been returned to the researchers, who are offering a $500 reward per fish. However, the fish they received in July, eight months after it was tagged, was the first to carry usable data.

Although the tag does not contain direct information on location - that would require light, which is not available at the depths at which monkfish live - it does reveal that the bottom - dwelling fish spent substantial time at the surface and in the water column, a behavior also seen in data obtained from a single monkfish in separate research.

It's possible the monkfish are swimming up to catch a current that will carry them along their migration route, using their large pectoral fins as sails, according to Richards.

The data on the chip also indicated that the fish did not go deeper than about 98 feet (30 meters). This came as a surprise to researchers, who believed monkfish traveled to deeper water during the cold season.

'We won't know if this fish was an 'oddball' in this regard until we get more returns,' Richards told LiveScience in an e-mail.

Federal fisheries surveys, conducted for more than 40 years, have indicated the monkfish's whereabouts tend to shift with the temperature, suggesting they migrate.

' It looks like some part of the population comes into the southern part of the (continental) shelf, like off North Carolina and Virginia, in early spring then moves out of there. Whether they move back into deeper water or they move north we don't know,' she said. The seasonal movement is not nearly as pronounced in the north, according to Richards.

Another common name for monkfish is 'all mouth' because this anglerfish fish sits, partially buried, at the bottom of the ocean, using a lure to attract prey. Then it opens its mouth suddenly, creating a vacuum to suck in the meal.

In the late 1980s, fisherman began catching more monkfish, and by the mid - 1990s, the catch had soared. Monkfish has become the most economically valuable finfish in the northeast, surpassing the depleted cod, haddock and flounder fisheries, according to Richards.

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