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The Fish Story Pine Pollen Gets Things Poppin’; Flip-Flops Making Good Impressions

The Fish Story

Also, see at: http://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com/

Pine Pollen Gets Things Poppin’; Flip-Flops Making Good Impressions


PINE POLLEN POPPERS: The yellow is here. The pine pollen is a-fallin’.

This year’s pine pollen waft-down is running way late. In years past, we’d already be routinely throwing on the windshield wipers every time we got into the driver’s seat – to wipe away the pollen haze. Hey, wasn’t that a Jimi Hendrix song? “Pollen haze, all in my brain …” I’m kinda foggy on that time period.

The pine pollen producers are the measly male pinecones. I say measly because the male cones are limp and lame (yes, even when pouring out pollen). They’re quickly gone when the pollinating partying is over. It’s actually the female cones that we associate with the manlier look of proverbial woody and beefy pinecones.

The yellowifying look of spring pine pollen often gets a bad rap by folks who live and breathe allergies. It takes heat for sniffles, sneezes and snottiness. Well, it turns out that conifer pollen is too big to be nasty on the nasal passages. It can be five times the size of the truly pesky pollens that insidiously attack sinus membranes. It is seldom blowing in the allergy wind, instead falling close to from whence it came – and onto your vehicle parked below.

Now that I’ve defended pine pollen from picky noses, I have to go fully freaky on the stuff.

A growing number of scientific studies have proven pine pollen is a startling source of manliness. I kid you not. When it comes to natural testosterone, it’s the stuff of sexual stamina and stiffies.

Here’s an assessment from a website called “Lunar Haven.” Did you ever wonder … the cause of increased sex drive in animals once they come out of hibernation? It’s spring and that’s exactly when pine pollen peaks and it’s everywhere around. It has the same effect on humans, as it acts like a strong natural aphrodisiac.

Another spring-into-spring comment comes via “Secrets of Longevity.” Pine pollen powder benefits all living things by being the most potent plant source of testosterone known. … This incredibly potent androgenic substance literally gives a much needed growth and libido boost to almost all plants and animals that come in contact with it after a long winter’s hibernation.

Wow, a contact libido high from just hangin’ out and breathing deep beneath male pinecones. OK, that sounds a tad over-weird but there are dozens of Google sites showing how to collect pine pollen to make your very own, uh, Pineagra. I’ll even point to one’s windshield as a place ripe with yellow rise-and-shine dust.

I’m not suggesting that one should immediately run out and begin ravenously licking windshields – though, I surely see nothing overly wrong with maybe strolling over to one’s pollen-covered vehicle and taking a lengthy lick or two – you know, just to stave off any weathered and worn feelings.

I know, I know. I’m probably a horrible human being for even subtly encouraging folks to lick their windshields for a libido launch, but, dammit all, this is America, home to an inalienable right to lick clean your entire vehicle, should you so desire.

Of course, I might also be moderately driven by the fact I’ve become an obsessed videographer. I see viral and fiscal potential in a video showing a seemingly normal LBI man licking pounds of pollen off his new F-50 Ford pickup, before dousing himself in Aqua Velva and swaggering off in search of a couple really hot Japanese black pine trees. I’d likely quit shooting after he finds the first pine – or not.

Afterthought: I’m not fully certain of the recommended dosages of pine pollen testosterone, i.e. should someone seek immediate medical attention for, let’s say, a personal pinecone that lasts for over four hours. Just sayin’.

MAKING A GOOD IMPRESSION: They’re called message flip-flops and might be the flash-in-the-sand hot summer item for 2014. These pick-your-color message flops look like your everyday flip-flop but there is custom lettering embossed (in reverse) on the bottom. Every time a wearer steps in soft sand, highly discernible words are released, repeatedly, for as far as a message flopper goes.

Yes, these are real. Why does everyone look sideways at many items in my columns? I always work with reality – of one sort or another. One of the places making message flip-flops is the http://www.flipsidez.com.

I kinda dig it – but with some reservations about how far sand messages should go.

Far be it from me to restrict freedom of speech in any way, even when that speech is etched in sand – over and over and over. But what if some of the goofier folks out there decide they want to step outside the boundaries of good beachgoing taste by loosing some twisted attitudes via flip-prints? I have a few semi-beloved weirdos within my Facebook family who could surely get carried away via flip-flop messaging, even with the limited letter space available on flip-flop bottoms.

Below: Just as I feared ... 

What’s more, might flip-flop messaging walk amuck of local ordinances? Every LBI town is highly sensitive to anything even resembling on-beach advertising. In fact, that governmental guardianship of sand space could tread all over a flip-flop messaging moneymaker I’m developing.

The instant I read about message-bottom soles, I instantly thought of selling myself. No, not down in Atlantic City – where I’m sure I’d be worth a street-corner mint. Yeah, right. I’m thinking more along the lines of contacting the likes of Pepsi headquarters in Purchase, N.Y., and offer to walk many miles in their shoes. Yep, I’d have “Pepsi” on one flip-flop foot and “Cola” on the other. I’d rise early and walk all over the raked morning sand, traipsing right down to the water – downtown Beach Haven would bring bonus bucks. Arriving beachgoers would be following in my footsteps and soon hopelessly crave a Pepsi, even before laying out their blankets.

I can even picture forming J.M. Foot Messaging, Inc. I could hire hundreds of otherwise unemployables.

“Can you step?”

“Uh, sometimes.”

“You’re hired. Here’s your flip-flops, dude.”

My team would innocently (seemingly) stroll beaches, embedding it with highly non-subliminal messages. Hell, I might even get Island towns on my side. I could have three message walkers in a little Conga line, stepping out the message: “Do You,” “Have Your,” “Beach Badge?”

Ka-ching.

GETTING BEARINGS ON BLACK BEAR: Here’s a cautionary note just issued by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection:

“This past winter was long and difficult for residents of New Jersey and our wildlife,’’ said DEP senior wildlife biologist Kelcey Burguess. “Due to the severity of the winter and lack of mast in the forests last fall, black bears are now more desperately seeking food. Naturally occurring food sources, normally available at this time of year, remain scarce this spring, forcing bears into more developed areas in search of food.’’

I’m gonna run with this black bear item even though we’re on the fringe of bear country, i.e. the upper one-third of the state. In recent years, bears have been spotted in Ocean County, one by yours truly. I’ve gotten numerous reports of bears in nearby Burlington County. Last month, a black bear was seen in the north part of the county.

By the by, black bears are indigenous to N.J. and were very noticeable to the first settlers, per historic accounts.

While it’s hard as hell to take a decent bear census, since they’re seldom home, it is estimated there are anywhere between 2,500 and 3,500 black bears in N.J. Admittedly, less than a quarter of those will be brazen enough to wander out of the north part of the state, much less into the far south sector. Bears have been seen in every county in the state.

I once – and only once – saw a bear in our nape of the woods. It was out toward the Quail Fields, off Route 539, along the Barnegat and Lacey border. I had mountain-biked onto a large manmade field and at the dead opposite end was what I thought was a big-ass black bear. To its observational credit, it had already spotted me, despite a decent, ongoing stealthfulness on my part whenever biking about. That bugger didn’t just bolt; it exploded into the nearby woods. I could hear trees bustin’ at some 150 yards away. I don’t know what previous experiences it had with humans but the last time I bolted like that was at a circus when a dozen little people suddenly jumped out of a tiny car.

I got photos of the prints from my black bear and it turned out it was not that big at all, in fact, likely only a couple years old. I was well upwind of the bear so he actually saw me, dispelling a myth that they have poor eyesight. An expert put it right, saying, if you can see a bear, it can see you, meaning human and bear sight is somewhat similar.

Anyway, that statewide black bear cautioning might coolly include us. In fact, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a bear or two this spring and into summer, somewhat based on the highly restrictive winter we just had. Like humans, younger bears will be roarin’ to get out and about after such a tough winter. Not that there’s a worry in the world over visiting black bears. A bear data sheet describes them as “shy, gentle, usually solitary animals that are very rarely known to be aggressive.” Sure, mama bears can get uppity, but any bears we come across will be dreamy-eyed younger bears, like the one I saw, that are ranging far and wide, looking for territory, treats and “tail.” Along with garbage cans, roaming bears love bird feeders.

All that said, in weeks to come, keep a cautious eye open for bears bolting across one of the many back roads that rush to the Shore – dark roads with anti-wildlife speed limits, especially when adding in the 10 mph that motorists theorize they’re allowed without danger of being ticketed.

While it’s not required to report a seen bear to the state, it helps the DEP with tracking and counting them. To read up on reported bears, Google “NJ bear activity report.”

RUNDOWN: I was hoping I might have a stellar spring fishing report to offload in here today, after a fairly nice weekend. Didn’t quite happen that way.

I did a stop-by at Graveling Point and up-river (Mullica) but things were a long way from hot, despite hard onshore (southeast) winds, which often spark a bass bite. Per usual, action there can turn in an instant, more so than even surf fishing on LBI. The Great Baystriped bass always know where the winds will be turning up the bottom, so they can suddenly show up at a windblown Graveling – en masse.

Many folks have never seen the Point so here’s a look-see:http://youtu.be/U1BzR3RJKN4.

By the by, this vid was shot later in the day so the usual, packed-in angler conditions had drained to just a few holdouts hoping the honking south winds might perk up the bite. The only hookups that day (Saturday) were two smaller black drum. On a whole, expect way larger crowds at Graveling.

On LBI: Jingles reports shorts are still in the suds. Another biter comes via the first batch of blowfish, taking/stealing bait meant for bass. These are larger model puffers, i.e. spawners. As is often the early-season case, many blowfish are also washing up on the beach, suffering thermal shock from the unseasonably cold ocean waters. They overwinter far to the south, where they sometimes take on some nasty toxins. When they reach here they’re as safe and tasty as a fish gets. The thing is they should be allowed to spawn first, making thousands of babies before moving into the bay to hang throughout summer – when they are highly catchable and taste far better than when spawning. Remember, many/most edible fish species aren’t the best tasting during spawns, when so much energy goes into the gonads and ovaries.

Dan at Captain’s Quarters, Brighton Beach, reported some short bass beached on clams. He also heard about the fun weakfish bite in the bay. Remember, this is the height of catch-and-release fishing for sparklers. The genetically gifted weakies arrive this time of year. Gotta let them make whoopi. I have tapped into that weakies play, though the tidersseem to allude me. I used pink plastics as a tribute to the ongoing “Think Pink” effort.

Fisherman’s HDQ reports a fairly quiet beachfront. The bayside is a better choice, withblack drum being taken – on their way to lagoon communities to spawn and over-summer. Fish to 50 pounds have already been taken this spring. The most recent larger model was a 30-pounder in Manahawkin Bay. While Little Egg Harbor is the surer black drum bite, regionally, the deeper waters near the Causeway host some huge drum. It’s all a question of being there when they pass. If you have a stethoscope, hold it to the bottom of your boat and listen for the telltale thump sounds of migrating black drum.

Surf City Bait and Tackle is seeing some near-keeper sized bass not far from beaches and not all that far from the shop. One angler had four bass and one keeper on clams. A 27-incher was caught farther north. And ocean water temp of 50 degrees was taken by the shop. That’s inching toward lower end normalcy. Many times in the past (going back decades), I have taken 60-degree water temps in early May. Over the weekend, I took ocean temps still in the 40s. Ouch.

The new Bill’s Surf and Tackle Shop spoke of some keeper bass (32, 33 inches) in the borough, going exclusively for shops’ fresh bunker, seemingly shunning clams. Obviously, those two baits can switch roles in an LBI minute. Stop by and say, “Hey” to Bill – and check out his lines of custom bucktails.

The report at BL’s Viking Outfitters is “We got fish here.” It seems that outgoing tide is the best timeframe on north end beaches. Use clams or jigs with teasers. Teasers should have touches of yellow and green. Striper sizes remain sub-keeper but moving closer and closer toward 28. On the higher size end, west Barnegat Bay is seeing super weakies. In fact, some are nearing the 28-inch mark more common to bassing. Think 44 to BB and BI. Be certain to doubly adhere to catch-and-release, since those west-bay fish are already in spawn territory. It would be a shame to yank them out of the system just as they’re about to release/fertilize thousands upon thousands of eggs.

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