Thursday, July 30, 2009: Waves: Building 4- to 6-foot medium period southerly groundswell. Winds: SW 15 with higher gusts.
The elements have conspired out there, pretty much overnight. Not only are the winds totally honking this a.m. but that near nonstop southerly groundswell has kicked it up a notch. There are some serious south waves. I had seen that on the buoy forecasts but didn’t expect it since it was a high pressure-based swell, which seldom develops hereabouts. Well, it developed and is marching (with the winds) right into the faces of the 65 boats in this year’s Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club’s 40th annual White marling Invitation.
Speaking of which, this is the one point in summer when I turn my eyes way offshore, to the canyons, even the east walls. I do a daily write-up of the competition in the event. I’ll include those rundowns in the http://jaymanntoday.ning.com/ , beginning with last night’s Captain’s Meeting down below. As noted above, there might be a load of contestants who forego heading out today, even though the hard winds will lay down quite a bit further out at sea.
As for nearshore and surfcasting, it’s not in this cards the first part of today. It might improve later. The winds could take a nap later this afternoon, though the big picture set-up (Bermuda High) has them solid from the south for days to come.
The angling that could be done includes the ditto action of decent fluking with not so decent keeping.
The weakfish are back, late but appreciated. Here’s a Capt. Alex report: They’re baaaaaaack, weakfish that is. Today I ran my first grass shrimp chumming trip of the season and got on the fish within 10 minutes! We had steady action with weaks to 19 inches. Attached is a pic of two of the many weaks that were landed. Although there are still some fluke in the bay I will be concentrating on weakfish for the next two months. If you are interested in getting into this unique fishery Barnegat Bay has to offer give me a call at 609-548-2511 Capt. Alex F. Majewski Lighthouse Sportfishing Barnegat Bay, NJ www.LighthouseSportfishing.com.
Somewhat alarmingly, there is a huge shortage of grass shrimp in areas of Barnegat Bay usually crawling with them, including eelgrass flats, east bay, near LBI. Anyone finding them scant down Little Egg way?
What there is out there, bait-wise, is a goodly showing of ballyhoo (this year), per this report. “hey j read your posts for years went out seining as usual today but got some odd fish for around here[ been netting for 20 years ] we netted ballyhoo small 2 to 3 inches but saw larger models 5 to8 too fast have you ever caught these around here it was in a cove that was very warm due to the wind blowing surface water there. KBG.”
(I have seen them also. If you go out at night with bright light they hang near docks and such. Took me the longest time to identify.
Jay, Fluking (South End) was decent around the inlets. I got keepers on the last couple drifts of the day. Fish are very fat but varied greatly in coloring including the most dark spotted fluke I have ever seen. Anyone else reporting that?”
(Always. I know the exact area you were at and it is famous for a varied bottom, from sand to sea clam shells to mussels and back again. That’s the color changer, as the fish quickly adjust to match the bottom. The dark spots are a sure mark of black mussel shells on the bottom. Folks always picture fluke as hanging around buried in the sand, and fully 80 percent of the time they are. But, they’re not opposed to lying around fully exposed atop reefs, shells and structure. All they have then is that amazing chameleon camouflage, which they can really turn on when the structure is dark or variegated. And, yes, even full-blown doormats will lie atop hard structure. J-mann)
Fluke news story:
Newsday, Melville, N.Y.] By Jennifer Smith July 29, 2009 - --New York has again sued the federal government over summer flounder regulations that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says are based on 'obsolete science' and unfairly penalize the state's recreational fishing industry.
The complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn amplifies a previous lawsuit protesting the 2008 recreational rules for summer flounder, or fluke. The complaints target the federal Department of Commerce, which through the National Marine Fisheries Service sets the limits for recreational fluke fishing. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which manages fish in state waters, is also a defendant.
Both suits allege New York receives a smaller portion of the coastwide fluke catch than it should because the quota allotted to each state is based on outdated and inaccurate data. Limits for New York fishermen 'are far more stringent than those for anglers based in neighboring states -- who are often literally pursuing the same fish, with the same tackle,' the complaint said.
Cuomo's office said the latest suit was filed to protest the 2009 rules, which took effect in June. They place the strictest limits yet on recreational fluke fishing here, truncating the season to 78 days and limiting anglers to two fish per day that are 21 inches or bigger. The 2008 suit is pending.
Daily blog from WMIT. Or see, www.bhmtc.com and click on WMIT link.
Captain Meeting night:
Gentlemen, start your marlin – I mean start your motors. White Marlin Invitational 2009 is officially under way, at least the paperwork part of it.
It was a fairly frantic preparation eve at the Captain’s Meeting. Inside the doorway of the clubhouse and straight ahead, the last-minute boat sign-ups were taking place right up to the cut-off hour.
The boat count this year is in the vicinity of 65 vessels. That’s down a lot from last year but no one seemed overly concerned. The economy can play a lot dirtier tricks than that so organizers, including this year’s leader John Fitzgerald, were relieved that a goodly showing showed up despite negative fiscal forces.
The big-ticket paperwork on opening night (Captain’s Meeting) took place at the Calcutta collection table, where something in the vicinity of a quarter mil came into play. Specialists from the bank were there to professionally count and properly package wad after wad of cash – all of which will go to the winning boats. The club offers a pure payback on this “side bet” attraction. Many clubs take a hefty chunk for themselves. Hey, you don’t get to be the nation’s longest running white marlin tournament without fair wampum.
The big news of the night, at least for me, was the expansion of WMIT2009 from a three-day event to a four-day tourney. Sunday is now an option for captains as they strategically pick those allowable two days to fish. I didn’t get much info on the reason for the change to four days except it’s meant to allow entrants to take advantage of what might be more forgiving winds and waves forecast for the Holy Day.
I had made plans for Sunday afternoon but as the saying goes: “The best laid plans of mice and Jay Mann Gang aft agley.” That’s some literary garble I use when I get a Sunday afternoon snatched from under me. Hey, it’s for a good cause: The club’s largest annual fundraiser. And every final day always looks large. If only a few boats go out, they can challenge the leaderboard so you really have to wait and see what those last weigh-ins are worth, especially when that’s all she wrote thereafter.
By the by, that day increase moves the polygraph test to Monday, which will be totally undoable for some teams rushing off to another marlin event further south. WMIT organizers said they’ll accommodate any WMIT winning boats that can’t make the Monday test due to previous (monetary) commitments to the other tourney.
Also of note is the reinstating of the blue marlin category. But it better be big-ass blue marlin, as in 105 inches. During the Captains Meeting, a tape measure was pulled out to a full 105 inches just to visually impress upon the captains and crews that it better be a major blue marlin if you’re going to enter it. “We don’t want any undersized fish being killed,” I was told – as were all the boats.
At the same time, blue fin tuna category was nixed. I heard varying reports on why -- and many were kinda weird, including the effort to discourage smaller boats from risking life and limb to enter the event hoping to bounce out to middle waters, chasing this closer-in species. Also, I got some info that some better captains have the bft action so pegged that they can zip out and nab them at their leisure. Uh, really? I might note that last year no bft were caught and a complex money return took place. I’m thinking that loomed real large in de-categorizing bft.
Hatchets marlin are white marlin in the eyes of this event. Has to be. Even the geneticists can’t establish separate markers for each fish, even though they are surely different. In fact, odds are a white marlin weigh-in will be a hatchet.
Per usual, the subject of conservation came up (mainly regarding blue marlin) and I noted (as always) that we have some of the top catch-and-release folks anywhere. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking an allowable legal fish or fishes for a tourney. I assure that the commercial sector has no qualms about keeping every ounce of what has been allotted them by management.
During the meeting, special attention was directed to the proper measuring of marlin, which demands a straight or “rigid” tape, meaning it can’t be curved on the fish’s body. Also doubly emphasized (since all boats were given a booklet with rules) was the maximum numbers of weighable fish, namely 3 tuna, 3 white marlin, 1 blue marlin, 1 dolphin/mahi and 1 wahoo per boat.
Ongoing plea: Remember to have all the proper fish from paperwork already done as you move dockside to weigh fish. When you’re among other boats waiting in the weigh-in queue, it can feel like a long enough wait without suffering through last-minute form filling by the boat up at bat. Also, make sure to let the Scout boat know who you are, by number. Placing the entrant card behind tinted windows just makes things tougher out there.
How about last year’s tourney head honcho, Phil Hiller, winning the drawing for free entry into the 2010 WMIT. Congrats Phil.
I was sorely tempted to bid on the gorgeous signed Guy Harvey prints being auctioned off. I really like the black and white pencil print. However, a reserve price of $100 was placed. I can’t quite go there. Wonder if I can offer $50 to start. If nothing else it might prime the pump to get folks bidding on these super collectibles. The bronze art work is a way higher reserve but those are truly incredible -- a tad out of my league but whoever nabs those is going to have some display art of the highest order. WMIT webmaster Linda Bonvie or I will get some pics of the astounding items being auctioned and/or raffled. Check out those rod and reel setups!
For those of you who have spent a mint to have mercury fillings removed from your teeth:
July 29, 2009- WASHINGTON - The government declared Tuesday that silver dental fillings contain too little mercury to harm the millions who've had cavities filled with them - including young children - and that only people allergic to mercury need to avoid them.
It was something of an about-face for the Food and Drug Administration, which last year settled a lawsuit with anti-mercury activists by posting on its Web site a precaution saying questions remained about whether the small amount of mercury vapor the fillings can release were enough to harm the developing brains of fetuses or the very young.
On Tuesday, the FDA said its final scientific review ended that concern. Still, the agency did slightly strengthen how it regulates the fillings, urging dentists to provide their patients with a government-written statement detailing the mercury controversy and what science shows.
'The best available scientific evidence supports the conclusion that patients with dental amalgam fillings are not at risk for mercury-associated adverse health effects,' said Dr. Susan Runner, FDA's dental products director.
Anti-mercury activists accused the agency of bowing to the dental industry and said they'd go back to court to try to force a change.
'FDA broke its contract and broke its word that it would put warnings for children and unborn children,' said Charles Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice. 'This contemptuous attitude toward children and the unborn will not go unanswered.'
Too much mercury can harm the brain. It has made headlines in recent years as scientists have warned that some types of seafood contain enough to harm a fetus or young child.
Used since the 1800s, amalgam fillings are a mix of a different kind of mercury - a kind the body absorbs differently - with silver, copper and tin to harden it.
Tuesday, the FDA took the regulatory step of formally classifying amalgam fillings as a Class II or 'moderate risk' medical device to ensure that dentists handle the mercury properly - using adequate ventilation - but to allow the allergy warning. Until now, the FDA had classified the fillings' ingredients separately.
The practical effect of that technical change? The FDA released its review of 200 scientific studies that found no risk to adults or children over 6 from the fillings.
What about pregnant women or younger children? Tuesday's ruling supersedes the precaution from last year's lawsuit settlement, Runner said.
The FDA found that while there have been only a handful of rigorous studies comparing young children given either amalgam fillings or mercury-free tooth-colored resin composite ones, those studies haven't detected any brain problems. Runner cited additional evidence concluding that babies and young children would be exposed to amounts well below safety limits.
But the statement dentists are urged to share with patients does raise the issue so that people who are concerned about the mercury can discuss an alternative.
Removing the fillings actually releases more mercury vapor, FDA said. People who think they're allergic to a filling ingredient should discuss that with a dentist.
Amalgams now account for about 30 percent of U.S. fillings, their popularity dropping in favor of tooth-colored alternatives. But they remain the cheapest filling and dentists say there are some conditions that demand amalgams, such as spots on back teeth that won't stay dry long enough for composite fillings to bond.
[McClatchy-Tribune Information Services] - July 29, 2009 -
One thing is certain: You should eat fish. If you're pregnant, you really should. Nearly all the health experts say so. The only argument is over how much fish, though the science is evolving, as science usually does.
What's interesting is why so many laymen seem to believe you shouldn't eat any fish at all.
The basic fact is, as the Food and Drug Administration puts it, that 'women and young children in particular should include fish or shellfish in their diets.' Just avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, say the feds, and keep it to two meals a week.
Lately, some researchers suggest those limits are far too cautious. One big study run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health found that limiting yourself to two fish meals a week while pregnant was associated with the danger of lower intelligence among children. 'Advice to limit seafood consumption could actually be detrimental,' wrote researchers, since fish are a splendid source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Other standard cautions might be changing as well. Nick Ralston, a biochemist at the University of North Dakota, last month made a splash with a pairof studies suggesting why eating a lot of fish, even from waters or species with some mercury, doesn't sicken people. It matters not just whether a fish contains too much mercury but whether it contains enough selenium. The evolving understanding, he points out, is that mercury harms you by binding up selenium, which you need. Enough selenium protects you from mercury, he said.
The upshot is that 97% of the fish in the 12 western states he studied are perfectly safe. When he got hired in 2002 by his university's mercury research center, 'I thought everyone was getting brain-damaged from eating fish,' he said. Not so.
He suggests that blanket fish advisories could be loosened, with regulators looking at the selenium-mercury ratios in individual lakes. We might even, he suggests, follow the implication of some research in Sweden and add selenium to certain waters to bind up the mercury -- sort of a chelation therapy for nature.
Not that the Department of Natural Resources should throw out its fish advisories quite yet. Ralston's findings must be tested. That's how science works. What bothers him, though, is that earlier too-strict advice really might have dumbed down children.
What baffles him is how pop wisdom came to think all fish are toxic. People, he said, 'were sort of assuming that eating any (fish) was bad for you,' even when authorities were saying otherwise.
Why? It could be that the FDA puts out sober, quiet advisories, while a whole slew of private groups for years have been shouting that fish are fatal. 'Brane Fude,' read one group's ad, over a diagram pretending to label a fish's mercury and dioxin deposits. Another group sold kits to test for mercury in one's hair. Yet another promotes petitions demanding grocers put stern warnings on the canned-tuna shelf.
So people shun fish. One Harvard study found that pregnant women cut their fish consumption by a sixth after one big scare. Poor families buy much less canned tuna, a cheap, safe food, since the 1990s, found Nielsen's Homescan survey.
Said David Martosko, who does research for a regulation watchdog funded by food companies, the data show more than 4 million households at or below the poverty line don't eat fish at all. That's 'more than a quarter million kids who got no omega-3s in utero because their mothers were too scared to eat fish,' he said. 'That's a public health catastrophe.'
Sure, his group wants to sell fish, but the FDA agrees with him. Meanwhile, the 'Brain Fude' group, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, exists to promote veganism. The hair testing was pushed by Greenpeace, which says fishing endangers fish. The shelf warnings are promoted by activists claiming tuna fishing hurts turtles.
And lots of the groups, Martosko points out, campaign against coal-fired power plants, which put out mercury. Efforts such as the Sierra Club's campaign to shut down all coal power had gotten little traction outside the true believers. 'But they can get mothers worked up about the threat that their kids' tuna fish sandwich is poisoned,' he said. Coal is the target; 'fish was just the collateral damage.'
Actually, so was infants' health. You have to ask, though, whether useful scares are worth 10 points off a generation's IQ. It's good to get mercury out of water, but it's not the only or even most harmful threat. Apocalyptic fish stories, another kind of pollution, not only don't jibe with science, they carry a real cost for people who believe them.
Copyright (C) 2009, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
[Bangor Daily News] July 29, 2009 - By Sharon Kiley Mack
MILBRIDGE, Maine: A simmering row among a small group of people at the Milbridge Days' Cod Fish Races on Saturday spilled over into the family-oriented fun and turned into a brawl involving 50 to 60 people, sending two the hospital and resulting in several summonses and an arrest.
The Cod Fish Races are part of the annual Milbridge Days town birthday party. The races are held in a baseball field on a 90-foot course. Each team consists of four people who must dress in four pieces of firemen's gear and then run across the field clenching a greased, dead, 20-pound cod. About midtrack, firemen spray a stream of water from their hoses through the running codfish-wielding racers who try to dodge the dousing.
This year at least 12 police units, including seven Maine State Police troopers and five Washington County sheriff's deputies, responded to the melee at the annual Cod Fish Races on High Street about 4 p.m. Saturday. Two people were taken to a hospital for treatment, including the Milbridge town manager.
Trooper Barry Curtis said three or four smaller fights earlier in the day led up to the afternoon brawl.
When the dust settled, families with small children in tow had scattered to safety and police had charged four people with assault or disorderly conduct.
Curtis said the fighting began earlier in the afternoon when a group of people objected to the way a person had been driving a vehicle in Milbridge that day.
It escalated into a pushing contest and just kind of kept going, Curtis said. It blossomed again on a side street and in the middle of the Cod Fish Races it really got a little out of hand.
Curtis said the fighting was fueled by alcohol.
Town Manager Lewis Pinkham, who also serves as the town's police chief, was injured when he was knocked to the ground while attempting to stop the fight. Pinkham and another person, whose name was not available Sunday, were taken in personal vehicles to Down East Community Hospital in Machias for treatment of minor injuries.