Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Some dogs have a nose for tracking, while others ...
So, I've been getting up in the morning all wrong ...
Tuesday, August 08, 2017: Winds – or lowness of same – is the big news. It is very odd for midsummer to offer days on end with winds less than 10 mph … and variable, to boot. Conditions will allow boat fishing just about anywhere, including smaller crafts being able to sneak out onto the ocean to go after some larger flatties, which are getting prohibitively hard to find in the bay.
Here’s a report from Walt P. from today:
“Started fishing BL inlet around 10:30 today. There were many boats inside the inlet from the lighthouse over to the sedges.
“I fished along the N. jetty during the slack and managed a few shorts. Once the tide started running out around 11:15 I moved over to the south jetty and started my drifts on the bar at the lighthouse corner. Had one or two fish on almost every drift and most were within 100’ of the bar. Ended up with about 25 fish, 15” on down to 8”, no keepers.”
I’m hearing about the domination of undersized fish, north to south, bayside and inlets.
As to better flatties, they’re oceanside and out near the artificial reefs … often being caught within a halo pattern set a decent distance (even 100 yards) away from the reefs.
No word of fluke being caught in the surf. I’m sure there are some nice fish there but beach crowds have been so overwhelming that I sure wouldn’t give it a try after, say, 9 a.m.
Extreme sand bar exposure continues to show at low tide along many of LBI’s beachfronts.
HOLGATE BITS AND PIECES: I’m already being asked about Holgate reopening. Along with those, I think it’s too early for back-to-school commercials … but there they are, nonetheless.
This week, I’ll have a SandPaper writer do a check-in with Forsythe to see how the nesting season went. Plover are nearly fledged, while terns and oystercatchers are on a slow boat to nesting completion, as is common. It always comes down to those later species vacating the Holgate premises, hopefully by Sept. 1, which is the official reopening of the state beaches adjacent to the refuge.
As to front beach’s buggy accessibility, that’s indeterminable, short of my taking powerful binoculars and a spotting scope to the Holgate parking lot front beach, and focusing in a mile down. I haven’t done once this entire summer.
I did get unsurprising word that the far south end, where sand has been accruing to the hilt in recent years, has gotten even sandier, based on boats passing nearby, using the North Cut, aka Beach Haven Inlet. The dunes there are multistory high and gaining ground and foliage.
The erosion zones just past the Holgate parking lot have seemingly taken on a goodly amount of vegetation, albeit spotty -- though the area remains barren when compared to the rich, impenetrable maritime forests that grew there as recently as the 1980s.
I’ll bet the sandbars along the Holgate/Refuge front beach will be more pronounced than they’ve been since who-knows-when. I’m not sure if that’ll leave top-notch fluke/kingfish/croaker troughs close in … or force fish well off the beach.
I’m told by clammers that the back (clamming) mudflats of bayside Holgate are totally overgrown, barely existent. Looks like it’ll be low-tide clamming during only the lowest low tides.
The Zen of Fluke Fishing Maintenance ...
Any Given Sunday by Cory Belyea
"We pushed off from Hagler’s Marina at 10:15am. The winds were light out of the north. The reports for the fishing down South hadn’t been great for most of the summer, which tempted us to go back to Barnegat Inlet. Our neighbor, Bobby, told us of a bite off of Brant Beach several miles out. We took his word as he usually limits out when the bite is on. Going out of Holgate Inlet the seas were 2-3 foot with a short interval. It made for an interesting boat ride north against the current and swell watching our bow riders get bounced around.
"As we lined up our marks, Louis Vignapiano was first to drop his line in the water. He was not disappointed when his rod bent instantly. It was a short, but it showed us we were in the right area. Hook-ups energized the boat as a total of 3 keepers were boated, with 4 shorts returned to the ocean. As I was corralling two of the keepers Johnathan had another. It was a fish that wasn’t meant to be caught and swam away after looking at us on the surface. My sister Suzanne Belyea and her boyfriend John O boated several sea robins, my father calls them rabbis for some reason, which was a clear indication that we had come to the end of the drift.
"Louis 25” doormat(pictured) hit on gulp bait. My father Shepherd Belyea, the skipper, also brought in a keeper on gulp. Johnathan Shuster, Gilligan, brought in a nice keeper on his buck tail.
"We returned to our mark expecting to have another flurry of flounder, but it was not to be. Under the slack tide, the drift was reduced to 0-.5 knots, which yielded sea robins and a decision to move. As we contemplated where to go, my niece Khyber chummed the seas hanging off the bow. We have all been there, but anyone that steps foot on Team High Voltage boat understands that there is no turning around. I noticed a disturbed body of water off the bow, sure enough a loggerhead emerged. It was over 4’ long and had a deep yellow glow. He calmly passed taking big gasps of air only 15’ off the bow. Boaters be on the lookout! This is a good sign with waters in the mid 70’s; We also saw several flying fish.
"With the drift gone, we decided to head back to the inlet. We made one final stop closer to Holgate and boated two more keepers. We will not talk further about the one that got away on the first drift, right Johnathan?
"By 2:30 we were back in, and by 3:30 we were at Daddy O having celebratory drinks. And yes, we had the fish sandwiched in ice preparing for the filet station (pictured in the photo) that Louis built. We hope that the bite continues and the good times continue to roll."
"Monster catch at the Jersey shore" haha. Cool coverage from NBC thanks to Ted Greenberg at NBC. I'll upload video tmrw for the whole kit and caboodle.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The New York Times] By The Associated Press] - August 8, 2017
BREWER, Maine — Changes in the worldwide fisheries industry have turned live baby American eels into a commodity that can fetch more than $2,000 a pound at the dock, but the big demand and big prices have spawned a black market that wildlife officials say is jeopardizing the species.
Law enforcement authorities have launched a crackdown on unlicensed eel fishermen and illicit sales along the East Coast.
Although not a well-known seafood item like the Maine lobster, wriggling baby eels, or elvers, are a fishery worth many millions of dollars. Elvers often are sold to Asian aquaculture companies to be raised to maturity and sold to the lucrative Japanese restaurant market, where they mainly are served grilled.
But licensed U.S. fishermen complain poaching has become widespread, as prices have climbed in recent years. In response, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies are investigating clandestine harvesting and sales.
Operation Broken Glass, a reference to the eels' glassy skin, has resulted in 15 guilty pleas for illegal trafficking of about $4 million worth of elvers. Two people are under indictment, and more indictments are expected.
In Maine, more than 400 licensed fishermen make their living fishing for elvers in rivers such as the Penobscot in Brewer and the Passagassawakeag in Belfast every spring. They say law enforcement is vital to protecting the eels and the volatile industry.
Randy Bushey, of Steuben, has been fishing for elvers since 1993. He said he saw his income balloon from as little as $5,000 per year in the 1990s to more than $350,000 in 2012. He said tighter quotas mean he's earning less these days, and in the most recent season he made about $57,000.
"I've seen the best, and I've seen the worst," Bushey said. "I want to see it preserved. I want to see it straightened out."
The elvers are legally harvested in the U.S. only in Maine and South Carolina. The American eel fishery was typically worth $1 million to $3 million per year until 2011, when the economics of the industry changed. Asian and European eel stocks dried up, and the value of American eels grew to more than $40 million in 2012 because of demand in China, South Korea and other Asian countries.
Investigators also turned their eyes to poaching in 2011, the Department of Justice told The Associated Press. The investigation of people who catch, sell or export elvers illegally has ranged from Maine to South Carolina; a New York seafood distributor was among those netted.
In one case, federal prosecutors said, three men pleaded guilty in November 2016 to trafficking more than $740,000 worth of elvers harvested illegally from the Cooper River in the Charleston, South Carolina, area. In another, Richard Austin pleaded guilty in federal court in Norfolk, Virginia, to trafficking more than $189,000 in illegally harvested elvers from 2013 to 2015.
The federal agencies involved in the poaching investigations say there's no end date for their probe. The Department of Justice declined to speculate on how many poachers there are and how many arrests are expected. A conviction for violating the Lacey Act, which prohibits illegal wildlife trade, can carry a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000.
Investigators go undercover to track poachers, posing as people illegally fishing for elvers. They also follow eel migrations, hoping to catch illegal fishermen on the spot. Investigators also track catch records, which are required by states, to look for possible illegal fishing and selling along the supply chain.
The legwork is necessary because illegal trade in elvers jeopardizes the species' long-term sustainability, said Jeffrey H. Wood, acting assistant attorney general with the Department of Justice's environmental division.
Maine's fishery for elvers is the biggest on the East Coast, making it the sole reliable source of the eels in the U.S. To prevent overfishing, fishermen are limited to catching them for only a few weeks every spring.
The eels hatch in the ocean waters of the Sargasso Sea, a weedy patch of the Atlantic Ocean between the West Indies and the Azores. They then follow currents back to rivers and streams from Greenland to Brazil. Mature eels that avoid hazards including fishermen's nets, predatory fish and the turbines of hydroelectric plants will one day return to spawn in the Sargasso.
The baby eels are tiny at the time of harvest, weighing only a few grams when they are scooped with dip-nets or trapped with larger nets that resemble small soccer goals.
A well-managed eel fishery is critical to the health of the rivers and streams they swim in, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement Ed Grace. Eels are important to the marine ecosystem because they serve as both predator and prey, feeding on fish and mollusks and serving as food for larger fish, seabirds and turtles.
"While the big charismatic animals like bears, big cats and eagles tend to grab all the public attention, it's often the smaller, more obscure animals that are crucial to regional ecosystems and economies," Grace said.
Some eels harvested in Maine eventually return to the U.S. to be sold in Japanese restaurants, usually grilled and served on rice.
Sunny Chung, chef and owner at Yobo in Portland, gets Maine eels from American Unagi, the only American eel farm in the state. He described Maine eels as a top-notch product and "the only eel that we use."
Going after scofflaw fishermen will help ensure the eels keep filling that commercial role, said state Rep. Jeffrey Pierce, a Republican from Dresden who's adviser to the Maine Elver Fishermen's Association.
"We are committed to ending these problems," Pierce said. "It behooves us to."
Below: These could come in handy for restaurants and also the average seafood lover. As of now, they're hard to order but should become more available as the method gains popularity.
The HistaStrip™ Test Kit is a novel visual colorimetric strip test for the determination of histamine in fresh fish, other seafood, fish meal, wine and milk. The HistaStrip Test Kit uses a colorimetric enzyme assay to rapidly detect histamine. The HistaStrip tests can detect unsafe levels of histamine in fish samples in only 4 minutes. The strips contain a pad impregnated with histamine-specific enzyme to measure the chemical reduction of a colored dye indicator. Sample is added to a well containing buffer and then the strip is dipped into the well for one minute. The strip is then removed from the well and allowed to incubate on the bench for three minutes to allow the color reaction to proceed to completion. The strip color change is then visually compared to a reference color card to determine the amount of histamine present in the sample.
Histamine is a contaminant sometimes found in seafood when improperly handled. Quality tuna has histamine levels below 50 ppm. High levels of histamine in seafood can cause scombroid poisoning. The amount of histamine can be determined using ELISA or LC-MS. However, these traditional methods require very expensive equipment and time consuming sample preparation procedures.
Cool item. This is not a paid advert.