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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

A Pack of Survivalists Spotted; Insanity Is Just Too Strenuous

By JAY MANN | Sept. 05, 2013

Grabbing my dragonfly ID book, I always hit the outback right about now for a rolling read on these comely and tasty insects. Yes, tasty. No, I wouldn’t eat one if it was the last female on Earth. But the growing bands of survivalists living in the deep Pines love the hell outta them, either a la cart or with, say, green cranberries and any number of assorted larvae.

Now and again, I come upon these skittish survivalists nervously feeding in fields and meadows – dragonfly wings often stuck to their straggly beards. That riled facial hair thing is definitely not a great look for most of the women, but I’m guessin’ they’re not worried about making it on “America’s Next Top Model.”  Besides, they’re usually prancing around topless, so what the hay?

It’s hard to say who, exactly, these rugged outback primates are – or, I should say, were. More than likely, they’re followers of the cable series “Doomsday Preppers,” or just as possibly folks who wandered away from Tom Brown’s Tracker School, never to be heard from again, short of occasional howls at sunset.

I’m also writing a nature paper theorizing that some of these nomads may very well be miserable urban business people who, when driving to their weekend shore homes, have a flat tire in the core Pinelands and sulk despondently on the sand after realizing they don’t even know what a car jack looks like much less how to use one, and, under a 120-degree sun, soon find themselves gnawing on a piece of road-kill whitetail deer while sniffing a mysteriously alluring scent in the air right before bounding off into the underbrush.

“42 to headquarters.”

“Go ahead, Sarge.”

“I found that missing Maserati. It’s disabled on Dead Deer Road, Mile Marker 32.”

“Any sign of the owner?”

“Nope. There’s just some chewed-up roadkill and pieces of clothing scattered in bushes. I think we have us another bounder.”

“10-4. I’ll notify the family.”

Anyway, most dyed in the deer hair survivalists never communicate with the outside world – until I come along. I’ll spook them from the fields and into nearby woods. There, they’ll stop to curiously watch my every move. That’s when I try to open lines of communication.

“You know I can still see you peeking out through the shrubberies there, dude?”

No response.

“So, what’s up?”

No response.

“You know you’re gonna get yourself shot by pussy-footin’ through the weeds like that?”

“What?” gruffly thrown from the shrubbery.

“I said, some deer hunters are gonna shoot your ass if you keep hoppin’ around the fields chasing bugs like that.”

“Oh, yeah?” … followed by a 36-round burst of .223 semi-automatic weapon rounds, buzzed in a tight pattern over my head.

“Oooooooooo-K. Point well made. I’ll just be scurrying on now. Nice chatting with ya – and bon appétit.” Under my breath, “Ya buncha frickin’ lunatics.”

INSANITY IS STRENUOUS: I had a quite serious phone conversation with a very nice older gal who is wringing her hands – and her mind? – over Sandy-related flood relief reimbursements. She is just one of many maddened – and maddening – folks who want me to dedicate an entire issue of The SandPaper to publicizing just their grant- and loan-seeking horrors.

What made this sufferer’s case a tad more disquieting was her repeated and utter assurance that the entire Sandy thing was driving her “insane,” as in the full-blown Ancora-bound Monty. (Ancora Psychiatric Hospital is a well-known state, uh, institution.) The caller’s seeming commitment to madness actually had me damn close to notifying the authorities. She sounded like she meant it. I mean, as much as someone sane enough to say they’re going insane can sanely mean it. Say what?

Sidebar: Any of you Boomers remember that growing-up threat that acting abnormal would mean “the men in white coats will come to take you away”? What a way to control the populace. That was cold, man. I had nightmares of white-coated men.

But back to that insane call. What was alarming to me was how readily the concept of insanity bled into my own hair-pulling, post-Sandy mind bendings. I momentarily pondered what the soothingly soft strokes of insanity might feel like. Fuggedaboutit! It instantly hit me how much unreserved effort and crazed commitment insanity takes. It would be exhausting – or, worse, boring. Imagine sitting all frickin’ day on a mental ward rug counting the dust planets in a big beam of sunlight passing through a barred window.

“And how did we do with counting the planets today, Mr. Mann?”

“6,822. And whadda ya mean ‘we’? I didn’t see your over-sanitized, perfectly pressed, white-skirted ass counting even one planet.”

“Now, now, Mr. Mann, have we been cheeking our meds again? Naughty, naughty.”

“I’ll naughty you one …”

The problem with insanity is it’s all or nothing. Part-time insanity is pretty much just being weird. There are very few perks to that. Proof: While way too many people have successfully mounted an insanity defense, no one will ever win courting a weirdness defense – regardless of how weird one acts in court, which’ll most likely simply get your ass Tazered. And that’ll knock the weirdness out of you real fast. “Owwwwww! I’m cured! Look. I’m cured. … Numbnuts.”

COME ON BACK TO THE CLASSIC!: One sure way of getting the casters to come down by the loadful is the lure of the annual, eight-week Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic. The 2013 “Classic” runs from Monday, Oct. 7, thru Sunday, Dec. 1. Yes, that starting date is a bit unusual. We usually begin on a Saturday. This year, the expanded tournament committee wants to get the event’s start closer to Chowderfest Weekend, Oct. 5 and 6. The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce again sponsors the event this year, with plans to transition management of future Classics to a committee comprised of shop owners, fishing clubs and those close to the contest.

I can’t recall a fall that has offered a larger question mark as to whether or not anglers will/can get down here. All I can guarantee is incredible fishing. I kid you not. Through whatever cosmic insights I get from watching the sea so closely, very good fishing things are aligning for fall. I’ll be a grandmotherish knock-on-wooder by saying, “Tropics permitting.”

I’m huge on optimistically noting there is a high potential of making the Classic into a big-dollar surfcasting event, now that polygraphs are routinely used. However, it’s imperative for the event to move forward in small steps – the largest being the sincere inviting back of those who are – or have ever been – part of the derby/tourney/classic. I’m heavily inviting those who might have drifted off. We need all ya’ll like never before. Participating in “Classic 2103” will help spur on the improvements being planned by the tourney committee as it tran.

Stay updated and uploaded at http://lbift.com/.

ANGLERS ROCK: 

I have a feeling we’re going to see quite the LBI exodus with tourist summer officially ended. I say that because I’m not sure how many homeowners, who finally have their rented-out homes back to themselves, are planning on doing fall here. Many homes still have repairs to do, mainly of an upgrade nature. That doesn’t always align well with fall shore flings.

That’s where we the angler community loom large. Not to toot our own horn, but fishermen are an enormous part of the fall “revenue presence” on LBI.

The boys behind the rods and reels often haul family and friends along for the ride. While we might not all be rich, many of us have saved up for autumnal angling. Add up our greenbacks and we could be that microburst of bucks that businesses need to round the edges of an otherwise jagged commercial year.

GOOD HOLGATE BUGGYING NEWS: Last week, I went bonkers when I heard that we might not be allowed to buggy the far south Holgate end until Oct. 1. I pervasively wrote so. Well, Long Beach Township Mayor Joe Mancini has cleared my head by just announcing (Tuesday) we’ll have to wait only until next Saturday to begin driving onto our beloved far south end and its fishful Rip. It will be made official with Friday’s township commissioners’ meeting.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Edwin B. ForsytheNational Wildlife Refuge | New Jersey

Initial word from town hall had the Holgate beaches, shared with the Forsythe Refuge, closed to mobile anglers until Oct 1. In the past, we had been allowed on by Sept. 1, or when the refuge opened the beach after the annual bird nesting closure.

A September buggy ban would have been semi-catastrophic to summer-weary anglers like myself, hoping to finally drive down to the Island’s little piece of outback – to fish and bird watch.

So, now, a huge thanks to the LBT mayor and commission, though I imagine I might still be banned for my (to me) understandable outburst.

Hey, you’re talking with someone who was once banned from a Black Sabbath concert for “behavior unbecoming …” I kid you not. And you don’t wanna know the rest.

Anyway, I’ve aged gracefully. If I get banned from LBT beaches for standing up for buggying rights, it’s not like I’ll overreact. OK, so maybe I’ll constantly wear a black T-shirt that says, “I’m With the Banned.” And I’ll also nonchalantly put my house up for sale so I can move to any nation that has “Costa” in its name.

Unless, of course, there is an angling attorney out there who’ll take my case pro bono. Knowing my luck, the only lawyer to respond won’t know what pro bono even means – which is a clue as to my chances in court. “Habeas what-us, your honor?”

Just kidding. I’m ecstatic for the buggyists who can hit Holgate by this coming weekend.

By the by, other LBT beaches the township deems buggyable will open on Oct. 1. Elsewhere, Ship Bottom borough beaches will be opening to buggies on schedule, namely, the third weekend in September. Obviously, this is pending any beach drama created by storms between now and then.

(Below: Days after Sandy, Ship Bottom/Brant Beach zone.)

Even though the tropics have remained low-named so far, it wasn’t that many years back we ended summer with virtually no named storms only to then zip through nearly the entire alphabet by the end of that hurricane season.

Lest we forget, the concept of an obediently contained hurricane season – June 1 through Nov. 30 – is now out the window. I’d like to introduce you to the new “Hurricane-like Season,” ranging from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, when including so-called subtropical systems.

SHARKS AND MORE (SHARKS)As if coming in waves, the shark take from boat, beach and bank has exploded again. While I’m not getting any “too many to count” reports, a few folks are grabbing a goodly number of huge ones. Most are being taken as bycatch while fishing for things like, uh, huge drumfish.

Yes, I’m catering/capitulating to regulations that might not allow the actual targeting of sharks by anglers. So, lo-and-check-it-out, rigging for black drum might easilyaccidentally lead you to the men in gray suits, including browns more than 5 feet long.

To date, well over 90 percent of the sharks being pulled in by nearshore anglers arebrowns, a.k.a. sandbar sharks, though a fellow who knows his shark skins has proven, via a 10-power jeweler’s loupe, that he recently caught a sizable juvenile dusky shark. Apparently the skin texture, i.e. scale pattern, is different between the brown and the looks-identical dusky. Admittedly, it’s all kinda academic when you’re getting the fish back into the water in nothing flat.

An awesome sandbar tiger shark was taken last week from the suds. It was photographed and let loose.

OTHER ACTION: Small stripers are out and about, usual structured locales. The bite is a bit better than it had been. Diminished day length might be stirring the striper pot. There are loads of bass on the rocks on Barnegat Inlet. Sometimes they bite; other times they give anglers the fin.

Snapper blues – real tiny and flat in shape – are showing in the bay, though not in the massive number we saw back in the day. In the 1970s, we’d fish for those little buggers like crazy, often using “pop” bobber rigs or tiny little metals. Still, there are plenty enough snappers for those sharpies who love them as fluke bait. The bag limit for blues remains the same, regardless of the size. I have heard of F&W citing anglers for too many “bait” bluefish on board vessels.

As for fluking, it’s a pick, often based more on weather than fish availability. This time of year, fluke are far-and-away the most populous gamefish. They are everywhere. I saw a beauty (20-ish inches) caught at the end of the Road-to-Nowhere, Manahawkin. You don’t get more backbay than that. Sure enough, it was caught on a snapper blue a guy was catching (as his family crabbed) for fishing on his boat later.

How about those gorgeous weakfish showing bayside? I always thought these sparklers were brightest during spawn, but the ones coming out of the water lately have been on fire. And they might be spawning, based on what I’ve heard about them spawning all summer long – in waves. One of the larger ones I caught regurgitated a gob of small shedder crabs, maybe three or four crabs in the wad. Looking at the many photos of caught weakies, they seem quite fat – actually, unusually fat. A sign that a hard winter is a’comin’? Old-timers lived for signs like that.

COME ON BACK TO THE CLASSIC!: One sure way of getting the casters to come down by the loadful is the lure of the annual, eight-week Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic, now under new management.

The 2013 “Classic” runs from Monday, Oct. 7, thru Sunday, Dec. 1. Yes, that starting date is a bit unusual. We usually begin on a Saturday. This year, the expanded tournament committee wants to get the event’s start closer to Chowderfest Weekend, Oct. 5 and 6.

You likely know that the originators of the fall “Derby/Classic,” the Southern Ocean County Chamber Commerce, has opted to hand the reins of the long-lived tournament over to a committee comprised of shop owners, fishing clubs and those close to contest. It’s now what I’d call an eel-grass root event.

I’ll be the first to admit it couldn’t be a worse year for the switchover, with the Sandy factor sure to make it fiercely hard to get a read on how best to bring the prestigious event back to its former glory.

I can’t recall a fall that has offered a larger question mark as to whether or not anglers will/can get down here. All I can guarantee is incredible fishing. I kid you not. Through whatever cosmic insights I get from watching the sea so closely, very good fishing things are aligning for fall. I’ll be a grandmotherish knock-on-wooder by saying, “Tropics permitting.”

I’m huge on optimistically noting there is a high potential of making the Classic into a big-dollar surfcasting event, now that polygraphs are routinely used. However, it’s imperative for the newly run event to move forward in small steps – the largest being the sincere inviting back of those who are – or have ever been – part of the derby/tourney/classic.

I’m heavily inviting those who might have drifted off. We need all ya’ll like never before. Participating in “Classic 2103” will help spur on the improvements being planned by the new tourney committee.

Stay updated and uploaded at http://lbift.com/.

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