Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thur. Sept. 15, 2011 -- Buggying banter

Thursday, September 15, 2011:


The surf remains royally roiled despite no specific swell- generation points. This would usually make for some fine surf fishing. The problem is we’re lacking one small element: fish. Short of the ongoing glut of tiny snappers, along with a fairly decent showing of undersized fluke, I’ve been among the many throwing plugs left and right to get a bass or larger blue. I had one take that took a bit of line before going its unlanded way. Might have been a small bass.  I have heard of bass in the suds mid and north LBI but that was talk of schoolie fish.


Some much cooler weather is moving in. I’d like to say that’ll surely spark the striper bite but the ocean doesn’t cool quite that sparkily. The mullet being spurred on by the cooling bay waters may be somewhat motivational for bass.


The mullet are moving with a lot more authority. The scary part is how few anglers are in need of them. That subject opens a whole new can of worms. It is profoundly disheartening to be able to take home so few fish. One in 10, 20, 30 fluke. Bass of at least 28 inches when the only thing around are resident schoolie fish well below that limit. And, yes, the ocean is crawling with stripers between 18 and 28 inches, far more than needs to be conserved. Though it’s been said to death, we need to conserve the breeding stack with a true slot, possibly as seemingly brutal as throwing back bass between 32 and 40 inches. In a perfect world, that would leave loads of eating fish (24 to 28?) and well-earned tournament trophy fish (over 40 inches). The problem is the allegedly scientific charts indicate that is unadvantageous since even a huge slot would free up on a single small bass. Hey, an eater a day works for me – and would like work for the tackle shops, which need anglers to target something to take home.


I did see a few couple-pound blues show at the bottom of the tide yesterday in Holgate. I had one on, lost in the shallows.


BUGGYING OUT: Speaking of Holgate, as we move between moons, the ons-and-offs are a tad more forgiving, though the above-mentioned swell is adding some higher tide pushes. There is still damn little departure leeway if you’re down at the Rip and see the outgoing tide slacking off. You might get (at best) a couple hours after slack but that dead forest zone gets sudsy very quickly, though the worst area can be skirted. 


Buggy conservation note: I’ve seen – and have been warned by mechanics – that wet sand thrown under the chassis is actually worse than saltwater. I’ve seen the tiny rust zones develop around single grains of un-rinsed sand. Rust is forever, though a hand waxing – or a liquid spray waxing in hard to reach places – can temporarily stop it in its tracks.  


Buggy trick: Grab one of those better grade undercoating or flat black spray paints and attack undercarriage early-on rust outbreaks. If the rust has gotten to the blister zone, those have to be busted off and sanded. Still, you’d be amazed at how well some preemptive spraying works under the carriage.


BAD BUGGYING MOON RISING: With LBT beaches opening to buggying two week earlier than usual, beachgoer vs. buggy conflicts could be insane on sunny days, especially sunny weekends.


While one would like to think it’s a give-and-take courtesy issue, I can assure (via more experiences than you can imagine) that MANY beachgoers are brutes. I kid you not. They will essentially attack a buggyist, be it through glares, stares, growls, yells, curses, threats, thrown objects and, on occasion, a defiance bordering on Tianamen Square.


Ask any AND ALL LBI-experienced buggyist how many times they’ve come across utterly arrogant beach-sitters plopped down near jetties, blocking the only passage for buggies. And it’s not like there isn’t miles of beach to use.


I can’t count the number of times of been told by the beachgoers “We can sit wherever they want,” knowing full well they are intentionally blocking buggies.


I’ve been involved in maybe a half a dozen memorable confrontations where police had to be summoned. Most of those came about when I got blocked from going any further because of erosion. As I backtracked, to return to a beach buggy access point, people had settled in on the buggy tracks (almost always at a jetty end) and fully refused to move. I’m actually incredibly civil when explaining, smilingly, my plight. Most folks understand. Many won’t. Somewhat oddly, the police officers, on arrival, have never been nearly as cordial as I was. I am not big on confrontation like that, especially when there are small kids involved – which sure seems to be the case in many of the worst “We ain’t movin’” debacles. 


All that said, beachgoers always have the total right-of-way, be it walking across the beach or even when they’re nonchalantly walking in the buggy tracks you’re using. Yes, you can politely announce yourself when you approach them from behind. Most of the times they’ll hear your buggy -- or simply sense a couple thousand pounds of looming metal. The slightest bip of the horn works when all else fails. If they persist monopolizing the tracks you just have to drive around them. I’m pretty sure you can’t bump them off the tracks without some serious ramifications. 

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