Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday, April 13, 2017: I see where there's now a white perch bite being dubbed as "Hot." ... Fishing for snakes ... OUCH!!!!

It was all very innocent until Pippin accidentally went into the adjacent cigarette machine ... and now has a three-pack-a-day habit.  

Squirrel steals candy from vending machine

"You wanna see a photobomb? I'll show you a photobomb, tourist." 

Zoo Gibbon attacks man


Just like that, the dog now leads most of the team in scoring. 

Dog scores goal

Thursday, April 13, 2017: I see where there's now a white perch bite being dubbed as "Hot." 

White perch (kissin’ cousin to stripers) is another species, along with herring, I don’t go overly informational on -- though I know all the local hot spots and then some, like a couple wild spawning holes along Road-to-Nowhere. I once fished a secret Road-to-Nowhere spot no larger than a couple Chevy trucks wide and fish on every cast, using tiny pickerel spinner. Then, I rushed back one a.m., with a slew of new spinners to try, and the pond was pale white. Yep, spawned out … overnight! Not a touch.

Anyway, I don’t give exact local locales because they’re often in a confined area and can get crowdedly testy. Local tackle shops will sometimes offer directions.

Best bite time is late-day. Best bait is shrimp. Best gear is light to ultralight. Bobbers (and split shot) shine.

I have a couple more reports of smaller (male) black drum, in the 10-pound range. 

No black drum spring goes by that I don't pull out this old Jingles photo of massive two-man 100-something black drum caught in the surf of LBI by the boys. 


Not one but two keepable stripers caught in the bay on Sassies – from bulkheads. Both night catches. Kayaker, while after drum, found “a hole with a bunch of real small bass.” That was south-end waters bayside waters. No blues.

FROM THIS WEEK’S WEEKLY COLUMN: TOXICALLY NASTY SNAKE: I got an excited call from a gal whose hubby had been bitten by a snake; one he had tried to catch on hook and line. Geez, so why did the snake bite him? Duh.

Below: One way not to handle water snakes. Note wrist. 

The bitten angler wasn’t a bit worried about the gnarly gash he had gotten from the reptile but the good wife was dutifully worried sick. She felt the snake might have been – and I swear this was her exact word -- a “cottenhead.”

I pieced together that a “cottenhead” is a mythical-beast blend of a cottonmouth and a copperhead, both admittedly toxic snakes; neither residing anywhere near here.

After hearing the bite was related to a Pinelands lake, I automatically pegged the species as a northern water snake -- as ill-natured a slitherer as crawls the planet. I kid you not. What this water snake lacks in poison, it more than makes up for in a truly toxic attitude. Hell, it’ll sometimes just strike at the air if it’s crawling along and even thinks of something that kinda pisses it off. Give it a true target, like a human hooking it and reeling it in, and it’s one of the few snakes I’ve seen – and I’ve seen many, worldwide – that will actually rush forward … attack-like.  

Back in the day, when it was legal to keep the snakes of Jersey, I owned just about every common species – and a couple highly uncommon ones thrown in. My mom was a saint, snakily-speaking. She not only allowed my in-room menagerie, but often went on house-wide search missions when an escape took place.

Within my serpent menagerie, the only species that never settled in enough to be safely handled was the water snake. They’re just plain ornery. No huggies, no kissies.

Back to the snake-bit angler, I got further confirmation of the reptile’s ID when it was explained that the man, while fishing pickerel, had purposely dangling a minnow in front of the sunning snake.

While water snakes are mainly nocturnal, in spring they’re often seen sunning on the banks of lakes, creeks, even larger puddles. Hungry after hibernation, they’ll readily go whole-hog after, say, a small line-dangled minnie -- never once wondering why it had suddenly taken to flying. Of course, knowing the species, this one might have simply had a patented water snake hissy-fit, brought on by seeing a minnow trying to fly. “I’ll teach you to stay in the water, you little bastard!”

So, the angler hooked up -- and adroitly fought the snake. It makes for an odd fight to have a hookup first go underwater to fight, fish-like, then zip onto land to offer a terrestrial phase to the fight. The fisherman turned snakerman hung tough. I have to give him some perks before what followed – far less perk-worthy.

After getting the better of the battle, the angler got a bit, let’s say, shortsighted. Thinking in fishing terms, he grabbed the hooked snake toward the tail. Oh ... no, no. Bad idea! Too late.

Even though the snake was on-line and had also become entwined in weeds, it still managed to swing its head around. It latched onto the side of the man’s hand, toward the outer wrist. The angler’s human instincts took over. He jerked his hand away. Rippppp!

Snakes teeth are curved a bit backwards. This snake’s teeth – not huge, but highly sharp -- were now sporting parcels of human skin from having the hand jerked from its mouth. A nasty little wound ensued.

At some point, possibly during the bite, the snake got off.

With a decent blood flow going, the angler performed one of those time-tested, cold cedar water wash-outs of the wound. His anxious wife did some improvised bandaging -- not overly pleased when her patched up hubby simply returned to fishing … for fish. “Men!”

It was that evening, when the bite got red and swollen, that I got the call. I was more than happy -- and confident -- to allay the wife’s fears of a dreaded, apparently slow-acting “cottonhead” bite. However, I have seen (on myself) that water snake bites can sometimes get badly infected, rapidly. I highly recommended an ER visit. The angler refused, opting for a tea tree oil soak; a decent choice in an alternative medicine vein. He’s at work as we speak, still smarting some, near the bite. However, no red lines running up the arm. He’s likely home free.

The snake? It’s cockily slithering about … gloating its head off, all, “Mess with the best and get bit like the rest.” 


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By Jim Hutchinson, Jr.  |  April 13, 2017
In their pitch to turn the Hudson Canyon into a National Sanctuary, the Wildlife Conservation Society cited the 2018 launch of the New York Aquarium’s “Ocean Wonders: Sharks!” exhibit which they say will save the time of a "half-day boat trip" offshore and will ultimately "act as a place where visitors can access the mysteries of the Canyon."

In their official nomination, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and their Coney Island Aquarium staff outlined their specific reasons for nominating the offshore Hudson Canyon as a National Marine Sanctuary.

“Many people, whether they are ocean enthusiasts or have never set foot in salt water, will never make it out to the Hudson Canyon itself because of its distance offshore and accessibility being restricted to a half-day boat trip,” the letter says, adding “WCS has the unique opportunity to bring the wonder of the deep sea directly to millions of visitors each year through interactive exhibits within our parks.”

For thousands of coastal fishermen who don’t mind the “half-day boat trip” to the Hudson to tangle with mahi, tuna and billfish, there was good news on April 12 when the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) voted 15-4 in opposition to the WCS pitch to designate the Hudson Canyon as a restricted area of the ocean.

While claiming to have “community-based support for the nomination expressed by a broad range of interests,” the WCS marine sanctuary plan had actual fishermen and fishing industry leaders incensed.

In a letter of opposition on behalf of coastal fishermen, Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) executive director Jim Donofrio noted that regardless of the WCS’s intention, recreational fishermen would not have any legal protection under the federal sanctuary law.

“Considering that the National Marine Sanctuaries Act does not contain any language that sanctuaries must use science-based management, recreational fishermen would face the constant threat they will be excluded from areas for arbitrary, agenda driven reasons which is currently happening in Stellwagen and USS Monitor sanctuaries,” Donofrio noted, explaining how sanctuary designation would actually allow the federal sanctuary law to supersede any existing regulations deliberated and approved by regional fishery management councils.

Donofrio said his organization has been fighting these types of sanctuary proposals since the angler advocacy and lobbying group was first established in 1996, and said he sees the attempt by WCS as little more than a reallocation of federal fisheries funds. “There is no need for additional bureaucracy, this is simply meant to be a cash cow for groups like WCS to get more funding to promote the canyon areas through their custom-printed brochures and in-house children’s programs,” Donofrio said explaining how petitions like the one made by WCS rely on electronic signatures and open calls for support generally resulting in tens of thousands of signatures from non-stakeholders and elementary school children.

“The aquarium folks made a lot of promises and guarantees to fishermen that fishing would not be prohibited under their proposal, but the federal law that manages these sanctuary areas says differently, and these folks know that,” he added.

Regrettably, there were four appointed Council members who voted in favor of the WCS marine sanctuary plan - New York’s John McMurray, Maryland’s Ward Slacum, Pennsylvania’s Andrew Shiels and Virginia’s Peter deFur.

Contact your state- and federal appointed representative by visiting the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council's members page.

Donofrio pointed out that the sanctuary proposal for the Hudson Canyon isn’t necessarily defeated since it has to go through the federal government for final approval; however he said the 15-4 decision by Council on April 12 presented a critical message that recognizes any regional fishery management council’s responsibility to manage fishing activity.

A perfect example was in 2015 when the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved a comprehensive deep sea coral protection in the submarine canyons along the Continental Shelf which included the Hudson Canyon. As of 2016, the so-called Frank R. Lautenberg Deep Sea Coral Protection Area now boasts many of the fishing gear restrictions that environmental groups like WCS have asked for in the past.

“It’s very helpful that the Council was against it,” Donofrio noted, explaining the majority vote by Council was recognition that their individual duties handled much of the same activity that a bureaucratic oversight panel for sanctuary designation would ultimately manage.

While the 15-4 vote creates a major hurdle for WCS, their proposal to turn the Hudson Canyon into an official national marine sanctuary is not dead; more like in remission. Because the nomination was accepted by NOAA Fisheries and officially added to the NOAA Marine Sanctuary inventory prior to the confirmation of new a Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, the designation process is still active.

RFA pledged to stay active in opposition, and hopes that Secretary Ross could ultimately purge the Hudson Canyon nomination from the federal inventory of possible locations.

- See more at: http://www.thefisherman.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=feature.display&am...


Many can relate to this ... 

One step closer!! This time next week she'll be floating.


Jay Mann:


Barnegat Light Fire Company, Station 13 water rescue, assisting Marine Mammal Stranding center with the rescue of an injured seal. Please tag photographer.


4 mins

sketches for a "pop fleyes" albacore piece. Honored to paint a piece for such a huge inspiration to many folks in the fly fishing world.


US Scientists Track Fish Migration Using DNA in Water Samples

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Times Live] - April 13, 2017

A simple analysis of fish DNA in water drawn from two New York rivers successfully tracked the presence or absence of numerous species during a spring marine migration, according to research published Wednesday.

The inexpensive technique, which can have broad applications in monitoring and protecting aquatic life, was conducted in the East River, which is actually an inlet, and the Hudson River last year.

"By conducting a series of tests over time, collecting surface water from the same point on both the Hudson and East Rivers once a week for six months, we've successfully demonstrated a novel way to record fish migration," said the researchers at New York's Rockefeller University, whose work appeared in the latest issue of scientific journal PLOS One.

The weekly "snapshots" came from water samples filtered to concentrate the DNA left behind by the slimy surface of fish as they swim, or from their droppings. The DNA was then extracted and sequenced, with the results matched against an online public reference library.

The researchers' data largely corresponded to findings from years of migration studies conducted by fishnet trawls, the traditional method of tracking marine migration. This is much more labor intensive, expensive and harmful to fish.

"Environmental DNA" sampling will be an easy way to estimate the population and distribution of fish and other aquatic species in bodies of water from rivers and lakes to seas and oceans, the authors said.

"It amazes me that we can get the same information from a small cup of water and a large net full of fish," said Mark Stoeckle, lead author and senior research associate for the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University.

"Our work also offers clear new insight into the durability of DNA in the water, which persists despite currents and tides with a 'Goldilocks' quality just right for research," he said, telling AFP that experiments carried out in aquariums showed DNA survives for a few days or even a week.

Stoeckle's study was inspired by French scientist Pierre Tabarlet of the University of Grenoble, who was the first to show that small volumes of water contained enough DNA fragments to detect dozens of species of fish.

The New York research obtained DNA from 42 species of fish, including 81 percent of those known to be common to the area, such as herring, striped bass and oyster toadfish -- a flattened brown creature with bulging eyes and a mouthful of teeth.

Uncommon species were also detected, while some DNA came from fish frequently consumed by New Yorkers but not naturally present in the East and Hudson Rivers, such as salmon, tilapia and red snapper.

The researchers determined these latter samples likely entered the water after passing through humans and being discharged in wastewater.

The eDNA technique could allow researchers to identify endangered species sold in markets and restaurants, said Jesse Ausubel, another Rockefeller University researcher and study co-author.

Next steps involve refining the technology by comparing more eDNA results against the findings from traditional studies carried out with nets and sonar.

"It is unclear, for example, if 100 DNA 'reads' indicate the presence of one fish or 10 fish," researchers said.

Ausubel said that stage will take five to 10 years but "the upside potential is just enormous."

"It could easily improve the rationality with which fish quotas are set and the quality and reliability of their monitoring around the world," he said.

For Tony MacDonald, director of the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University, the science of eDNA sampling "represents a potentially important advance in our capability to detect, understand and more effectively and efficiently manage fisheries and marine biodiversity."


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