Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Thursday, March 17, 2011:
I realize not everyone is into the woods quite to the degree I am. Even outdoorsy anglers aren’t always that tuned into the outback, even though they live and breathe the water and fishing there-upon. Still, I just can’t let a woods day like this one go by without giving it a huge thumb’s up – and some plaudits.
It was just super in the portion of Pinelands where I hung out a goodly chunk of the late-afternoon and toward the darkness. The air temps among the laurels, pines and holly bushes were feeling so user-friendly I almost don’t want to see the heat begin to seep in, as early as tomorrow – but not lasting overly long.
I know we’re only talking 70 or so but when you get inside the woods, out of the wind, then get down to biking, running, trail-blazing or archeo-digging – all of which I’m prone to do on any fine day – a late-winter 70 actually gets a tad too toasty when factoring in how adjusted the body is to the recent cold.
Still, I ain’t complaining whatsoever. And neither are the frogs. As suspected, this super rainy stretch and, now, warm air, has created a mating environment that has the amphibians jumping and shouting for Joy, or Jade or Janet or …
If you’ve been in the midst of a spring peeper mating call onslaught, you know the serious sound factor when they all get crankin’ at once. -- I’m not talking just listening from the road or while standing in the backyard. Try sporting some waders and traipsing into the spring peeper calling epicenter. It can easily reach the endurance threshold for human ears. It’s not so much the sheer volume of the male frogs calling at once but the penetrating pitch, meant to cover great distances and wow the ladies – a couple counties away! Perfected over literally millions of years of evolution, that pitch contains what might be called a “throw” factor, which maximizes the call’s travel. When it hits a nearby human ear, it seemingly tries to go through the brain and out the other ear, like an acoustic X-ray.
There are some toads, particularly one we call Scaphiopodidae (common name, spadefoot toad) that hits a pitch so penetrating to the human ear that it is virtually impossible to be among a load of them without ear plugs, as I found out the hard way. The noise is at first mildly annoying to the human ear, then it does a weird thing: It starts to hit the middle ear (balance center) and can actually cause dizziness and disorientation. That effect is of course enhanced by the fact they only call in the dark of night, which has its own discombobulating effect. I honestly got in a spot of disorientation trouble once while doing a spadefoot toad count by myself near bass River State Forest, not far from Lake Absegami. The dizzying sound onslaught was a tad amusing at first, until I began having trouble getting back to a nearby road, less than 50 yards away. I would go a short way and need to stop and cover my ears to reorient myself. Finally, I just made a huge racket, yelling and splashing, which turned off a goodly number of toads near me. When I took a couple scientists back there, I all but dared them to go bare eared. I kept earplugs at the ready. They lasted about 60 seconds.
LBI SURF CLASSIC UPDATE: At the latest meeting, the committee discussed, at length, any options to avoiding drastic reductions in bluefish prizes. I don’t want to jump the gun and say the bluefish prizes will be reinstated but, for the many folks disturbed by that proposition, please realize efforts are being made to avoid decreasing Classic money prizes. On the up side, the participating shops will be covering the cost of decals, which had also been on the chopping block.
Personally, I’d like to see a stop in the decline in participants -- and even spike it upward. That’s not to say the 790-ish count from last year was shabby. But, only a mere 50 more entrants this year would sure help things along. I hope to hype the event through the media. Maybe some of you folks can get that former entrants to sign up again – and bring in some new faces.
By the by, the hat thing has been such an issue – namely, by those who entered late last year and couldn’t get the very desirable hats – that we must increase the number we buy to make absolutely certain all contestants get one. Yes, that’s an added expense but one that needs to be covered to avoid driving away contestants who don’t get one. The sponsorship angle now seems to be essential.
(I bring this up now and again: I zip these blogs out so please ignore – and try to read around – any typos. I consider this blog’s readership a bit of a family so I feel safe in shooting them out without needing to reread. Thanks.)
RFA-NY MEMBERS URGED TO JOIN FRIDAY FAX CAMPAIGN
Saltwater License Repeal Effort Goes Into Weekend Overdrive
March 17, 2011 - Efforts to repeal New York's saltwater fishing license and replace it with a federally recognized free saltwater recreational fishing registry are quickly moving forward in the New York state Senate. Introduced before the 2011-2012 session on February 28th by Sen. Lee Zeldin (R- Shirley), Senate Bill #3638 would amend the environmental conservation law in relation to establishing a registration system for saltwater recreational fishing, essentially repealing that part which mandates that a fee to fish be levied on saltwater anglers.
S3638 has already cleared the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee and now carries the cosponsor support of senators Greg Ball (R-Patterson), Kemp Hannon (R-Westbury), Owen Johnson (R-Babylon), Bill Larkin (R-Cornwall-on-Hudson), Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), Tom Libous (R-Binghamton), Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) and Jack Martins (R-Mineola). The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) is hoping that S3638 moves quickly through the budgetary process and is ultimately voted successfully out of the Senate in the coming weeks, and is also helping spearhead a weekend fax campaign starting Friday morning to encourage the Assembly committee to follow the Senate lead.
"RFA-NY members are thankful for our Senate champions in spearheading efforts to repeal this broken law, but now it's time for the real grassroots efforts to begin," said RFA Managing Director and President of the New York Sportfishing Federation, Jim Hutchinson, Jr. "If the saltwater anglers of New York are really angry about being forced to pay for reduced service, loss of access, and fiscal mismanagement by out-of-touch bureaucrats, then they need to join together and push to promote the Assembly version of this repeal bill."
Introduced earlier this month by Assembly sponsor Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), Assembly Bill #6169 is the companion to S3638, and just like the Senate version requires the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to administer and maintain a registry of persons who engage in saltwater recreational fishing, collecting the name, address, date of birth and telephone number of each person registered, issuing a unique user identification number. A6169 would also repeal the user fee required for anglers to have that information collected by the state, and would also provide a refund to those anglers who've already paid a lifetime fee to fish in New York coastal waters.
"Anglers and business owners who want to see this license repeal bill move need to contact Assemblyman Sweeney and urge him to have this bill discussed at the Environment Committee, it's imperative," Hutchinson said. "The recreational fishing sector needs to step up and be heard and March 18th is the day to do so." RFA is hoping a coordinated fax campaign beginning Friday morning can go a long way in getting the message out.
The Assembly version of the license repeal legislation is co-sponsored by James D. Conte (R-Huntington Station), Michael J. Fitzpatrick (R-St. James), Al Graf (R-Holbrook, Dan Losquadro (R-Shoreham), Tom McKevitt (R-East Meadow), Michael Montesano (R-Glen Head), Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue), Andrew P. Raia (R-East Northport), Joseph S. Saladino (R-Massapequa), Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck), and Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach). While S3638 is nearing its way a vote before the full senate, Hutchinson said A6169 is now stuck in the Assembly Environment Committee chaired by Assembly Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst).
RFA-NY and the New York Sportfishing Federation are urging anglers to speak up against the broken license by signing the online petition to support the repeal efforts, which can be found at www.nysenate.gov/webform/join-fight-restore-your-right-fish-free.