Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday, November 12, 2015: Here’s a rarity: The wind is going to be the big news for days to come. Yawn.

Good news, bad news: 

Thursday, November 12, 2015: Here’s a rarity: The wind is going to be the big news for days to come. Yawn. I fully understand that certain surfcasters covet the onshore winds – which kicked some nice bass and blues into the shorebreak this last NE go’round. But, surf-flattening west winds allow way more people to fish the beach. That works for the weekend, especially with the increase in family fishing I’m clearly seeing while driving the beach. I can’t recall ever seeing so many entire families, from the kids to the digs to the little lady. It doesn’t matter that everyone has an appointed rod. It’s just a fun affair. Admittedly, this late-running warmth is helping the cause but I like the way the kids get the idea of what dad is doing when he says he’s going fishing.

Dog note: A buddy I hung with when surf fishing in Central Florida had a pit bull – related to mine – who loved fishing, literally. He would sit near the spiked (pompano) rod, intensely waiting for it to take a solid hit. The instant the rod bent, he’d come bulldogging over to alert his owner. He’d then circle, prance and jump around until the fish was hauled in. Things then got a tad dicey as the pit felt its next duty was to make sure the fish, uh, quickly settled down. The man only occasionally took the dog since trying to get to the fish before the pit bull went ballistic on it was far harder than bringing in the fish.

That said, it’s gonna feel a whole lot fallier out there this weekend. I suspect we’ll also be seeing an increased number of schoolies in the system, though we apparently have a nice presence of bigger bass in the bay – per that report I published yesterday in here.

In case you hadn’t notice – you surely have – two of the Causeways three trestle bridges are fully off-limits to fishing as heavy-duty repair work is being done. While you can fish under them, I’d wear a hard hat.

As to the question drifting among those of us who enjoy night fishing the Causeway, I’ve asked the NJDOT – and even the construction folks – about the proposed fishing areas atop those smaller bridges. As recently as last week, I got proverbial “maybe.” As I read it, such amenities will be determined by how close the project sticks to the budget. Pretty much any cost overruns will see the fishing-based modification sink. Might we still have the set-up we’ve had for years, whereby you just bend over the handrails – and hope your line doesn’t get hung-up in the electrical wires? Seems so.

I’m sorta stunned at the massive reclamation effort being ground out on the south and east side of Cedar Bonnet Island, part of the Forsythe Refuge. I hope to soon give it a close-up look-see but even binoc-ing the work from a distance I can see they are plowing some serious sedge ground. I’m not complaining because I’m convinced it’s eventually going to be a far better place for wildlife – and wildlife watchers, who’ll get a great overlook area. I always note that a huge hunk of that portion of Cedar Bonnet Island was dumped upon with what we used to call dredge spoils so it’s not all that natural. In fact, those big trees you see from the highway were mere sprouts back in the 1960s. I imagine most of them are indigenous species, though my tree ID’ing is sadly lacking – though fall time is the best time to ID trees via leave color changes.

Walt P. report: 

Did a run up along IBSP and never saw any marks for baitfish. A gang was fishing the inside of the north jetty and there were bass being caught, not by me or Don I. They might have been just below keeper size.
We tried the backside tip of the dike and I had two 20” bass. WP

HOLGATE HAPPENINGS: I got a couple emails regarding the Holgate drive-to-the-Rip. I put up come photos that make it look near impossible to reach the Rip due to dead vegetation. Obviously, the dead forest sections are impassible but there is a somewhat veggie-free “lane” up high and a far easier cruise toward the water at low tide. What’s more, this stint of wild west winds will lead to returning beach sand covering up much of those recently-exposed branches and stumps.

I ask (nicely) that the refuge parameter signs always be respected. There were a few minor inroads made onto past-sign areas, only in areas where the erosion is worse. They weren’t egregious intrusions by any stretch. While it is always best to drive in already existing tire tracks that does not apply where the tracks leak a bit to the west of the Refuge’s signage.

I have to mention the remarkable buildup of both beach and dunes at the sound end of the Holgate Wilderness Area. Obviously, the sand eroding from north part of the refuge has found a new home at the south end – though tons of it also went out to LE Inlet shoals.

What amazes me is how high the emergent dunes are getting in the southwest sector of the Wilderness Area. I know the refuge, led by Vinny Turner, is studying the beach profile. I’m hoping they’re also documenting the dune growth, as the main duneline is now over 35 feet above sea level – an increase of, well, 35 feet over what it had been just 25 years ago.

What’s odd to watch is how the vegetation has covered the dunes but they still grow upward, rapidly. I guess the grass just grows with the flow of blown-in sand.

So, is this how Tucker’s Island formed way back when -- breaking away from LBI? Absolutely. The problem is this Tucker’s Island formation process can’t be allowed to dissect itself from LBI, which it is currently trying to do. What’s more,  we positively can’t allow any new Tucker’s Island to move a bit west, as nature intends. That would absolutely close off the already wavering Little Egg Inlet and related ICW.

We’ve already drastically impacted how nature does its coastal sand shifting – and barrier island building. There’s no backing off. We’re in it for the long run – however long humans rule. 



            Attached is this week’s fishing report for the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association. If you have any questions, my cell phone number is 609-290-5942 and my e-mail address is jamesghutch1@aol.com

Thanks for your help,

Jim Hutchinson Sr.


Striped bass continue to dominate the action for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association. The results depend on waves of fish. 

The stripers are arriving in waves as they migrate on their way south for the winter. There will be torrid action for a few days and then things cool off for another few days. The one constant has been a very good amount of bait around, especially in close to the beach. This will continue to attract and hold the fish. 

About a week ago the bass were around in very good numbers and they were big fish-20-35 pounds. Captain Fran Verdi on the “Francesca Marie” had several days of arm tiring action as he and his guests caught fish by live-lining bunker and by trolling bunker spoons. When they found bass in the bunker pods, they often had multiple hookups by the fishermen. 

Then last weekend arrived and the bite slowed down dramatically. Captain Lindsay Fuller had the Hancock party out on Monday looking for bass and came up empty handed. Despite perfect calm conditions for a day on the ocean, the fish were not to be had. Captain Lindsay worked the entire shoreline of Long Beach Island and found many schools of large bunker but no bass feeding on them. He did lose several of the snagged bunker to either bluefish or spiny dogfish. He even tried trolling but with the same results.

Reports from waters north of Beach Haven indicate there are more schools of stripers off Monmouth County heading south. This should mean more rod bending action as early as the upcoming weekend or early next week.


Media's Rampant 'Fisheries Are Going Extinct' Claim Finally has Serious Rebuttal from Scientists

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Editor's View] by John Sackton  Nov 3, 2015

The following headline came across our newsfeed this morning "Some South China Sea fish 'close to extinction'", courtesy of  Agence France Presse.
The report was based on a quote from Rashid Sumaila, director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit of the University of British Columbia.
"The South China Sea is... under threat from various sources. We need to do something," said Sumaila.
"The most scary thing is the level of decline we have seen over the years. Some species (are facing) technically extinction or depletion," Sumaila, who headed the study, told a press conference in Hong Kong.
Having not seen the paper, it is not possible to evaluate his statements.  But they are readily taken up because they feed into a media narrative that has proved very hard to change: fisheries around the world are dying because of human greed and overfishing.  This narrative has been central to NGO campaigns focused on fisheries.
For many years, there was no organized response, and especially no way for journalists to get accurate scientific information.  If they were fed a quote, such as "90% of the worlds stocks were unsustainably harvested" as appeared in Newsweek this summer, or that fish is 'aquatic bushmeat' comparable to eating monkeys and rhinoceros, as was said by Sylvia Earle, they have no way to evaluate its truthfulness.   No wonder that seafood seems so controversial.
A group of scientists has come together through Ray Hilborn and his colleagues at the University of Washington, that is finally providing real-time commentary and rebuttal - i.e. pointing out the basic science - which in many cases does not support these media stories. 
Our companion 
story today by Peggy Parker has more detail on Hilborn's rebuttal to Newsweek, where he said one article 'may set a record for factual errors'.
The idea is not to simply point out poor science and unsupported conclusions, but to encourage media to use their website 
cfooduw.org, as a resource whenever they see a scientific claim about fisheries.
For example, just in the past few days, scientists from around the world have posted comments on a range of global topics.
Hilborn pointed out, and the Newsweek editors accepted, a correction that not 90%, but 28.8% of fish stocks were estimated as overfished.  Would they have run the story if they had not been pitched intitally that 90% of fish stocks have collapsed?
Steve Cadrin of the University of Massachusetts comments on recent articles about cod in both New England and Newfoundland.  He says "The lesson from both of these papers is that rebuilding the stocks to historical levels depends both on fisheries management ... and on the return of favorable environmental conditions."
"Stock assessment models are simplifications of a much more complex reality. Stock assessments typically assume that components of productivity (survival from natural mortality, reproductive rates, growth) are relatively constant. These assumptions may be reasonable for relatively stable ecosystems.  However, considering the extreme climate change experienced in the Gulf of Maine, such assumptions need to be re-considered.  Alternative approaches to science and management are needed to help preserve the fishing communities that rely on Gulf of Maine cod."
Two tuna scientists collaborate on a story in response to the charge by Greenpeace that John West is breaking its sustainable tuna pledge by buying fish caught with FADs.
FADs are a type of fishing gear (radio monitored fish aggregating devices) that have become very widely used for pelagic tuna. The two scientists, Laurent Dagorn and Gala Moreno, point out in a comment and a recent paper the important issues with FADs are 1) quantifying, with scientific data, how big that impact actually is, 2) determining if the impact is acceptable for the amount and diversity of fish caught, 3) comparing it with the impact of other fishing gears, and 4) implementing measures to reduce an impact if it is too high for the ecosystem, taking into account all fishing impacts.
This provides a real road map for a discussion of FADs and how they should or should not be used, in contrast to the campaign claims that they are simply destructive types of fishing gear.  Dagorn and Moreno point out that all food production (including organic farming) involves making choices about modifying ecosystems, and tuna fishing should not be considered in isolation, but in how it meets the goal of providing food for global populations.
Aggregating and making this kind of fisheries science easily accessible is one of the most concrete actions that has been taken in years to counteract the misinformation that so many of us in the industry experience every day.
It is an effort that deserves wholehearted support, including publicizing the resource to local writers and editors.  Please visit their website at 


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