Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, August 20, 2019: I’m hitting the wall, drained flat by last weekend. ... Can I rant, please?


Beach Keepers


Tuesday, August 20, 2019: I’m hitting the wall, drained flat by last weekend. It wasn’t the hottest weekend this summer, but it was far-and-away the most uncomfortable. The humidity was between 88 and 92 percent on the beach! Playing volleyball on the sand was a sauna experience. I now fully endorse the heat/humidity index.

Wait until you see/feel the near quantum temperature change coming our way this week. I first saw it in forecasts and had to go onto the weather computers to see for myself. Sure enough, we'll be seeing a stretch of daytime high temps (Friday through Monday) cooler than our current nighttime low temps. We might barely reach 70 right after the causative cold front passes through. I'm sure not removing my window AC just yet. Both September and even October can produce a sizzle or two. However, seeing a powerful cold front like this so early might indicate an already developing sinking jet stream pattern for fall and winter -- meaning nasty-ass cold. Sorry, but I look for anecdotal trends like that -- and I'm often unfortunately right. Along those same long-term recollection lines, I've documented such patterns kicking off an early winter then receding into as mild as winters get. 

FLUKE FLAP: Fielding a load of fluke reports, I was depressed over the insanely low keeper-to-throwback ratio in the bay. One boat angler took 85 fish with nary a keeper. But I’m not depressed for the anglers. To my eco-sensible mind, that tells me there is a highly unhealthy overload of summer flounder out there. Virtually any young-of-year fish in the bay are being eaten by these insatiable predators. Among those doomed small fries are the likes of weakfish, tog, black sea bass, winter flounder, red drum, black drum – anything that was either born in the bay or has been blown in off the ocean. It’s a frickin’ ecosystem slaughterfest all for the sake of an overprotected species. I have reason to believe upper-end fishery folks are on the verge of becoming more ecosystem sensible, looking at management in a holistic light. 

Jason Link, the senior scientist for ecosystem management at NOAA Fisheries recently reported, "Detecting overfishing at an ecosystem level will help to avoid many of the impacts we have seen when managing fished species on a population-by-population basis, and holds promise for detecting major shifts in ecosystem and fisheries productivity much more quickly,” 

He further states, “In simple terms, to successfully manage fisheries in an ecosystem, the rate of removal for all fishes combined must be equal to or less than the rate of renewal for all those fish.”

The "removal" term looms huge. That includes species being scarfed up by other over-present species. 

Sorry for all this technical stuff on such a fine day but we’re soon going into what used to be the high point of angling the Shore, i.e. fall.

Striped bass also loom large on the overprotected species side of things. Hell, its population baseline is based on an arbitrary year with no identifiable relationship to a once healthy ecosystem. Keeping it at this arbitrary level of population maintenance doesn’t even remotely address the modern heavily stressed environment and the decline of other related species. It’s “Maintain this bass population number” regardless of overall biosystem cost.

Again, the current species-by-species management process (showing blind favoritism when it comes to fluke and stripers) will end. My guess is it will lead to the keeping of smaller fish – and maybe even the aquacultural growing and releasing into the wild species like weakfish. That would only work if bass numbers were reduced. Get as pissed as you like, but something akin to culling out will occur -- and we'll be able to fish for a slew of species instead of just a chosen few. And what about bluefish? Right now, they're oddly a smaller player, numbers wise. 

Below, you’ll see some photos of uncountable schools of tiny bunker in the east Barnegat Bay – though lagoon folks on the mainland are reporting equally impressive young-of-year showings. Staying on my save-the-ecosystem rant, I can confidently assure (with the backing of countless experts) there can never be too many bunker. In fact, I’ll credit them with possibly drawing some fluke attention away from scarce, threatened and even endangered species. They’ll also be there for any weakies that grow past childhood.  

I have to offer this photo of a life-list-sized (12 pound plus) fluke this angler photographed and released. Say what!? I know, right? Notice his arms are bent meaning he wasn't holding it out for added effect. I can guarantee it made it back to the bottom just fine and was eating again within hours, though theretofore remembering the suspicious looking thing she bit before being bitten back and taken for the unwanted ride of a lifetime.   


Did a quick shallow-water walkabout in BL and came across school after school or very small bunker; I'm talking minnow size. It was cool to see how they instinctive do the tornadic circling -- as grown bunker do -- at such a tender age. "Tender" as in a dining delight for gamefish. Notice on the bottom shot that they're actively feeding, gill-raker-style. 



The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Striped Bass Management Board approved
Draft Addendum VI for public comment. The Addendum was initiated in response to the results of the
2018 Benchmark Stock Assessment which indicated fishing mortality is too high and spawning stock is
too low.
The Draft Addendum proposes management options for both commercial and recreational sectors in
order to end overfishing and reduce fishing mortality to the target level in 2020. The proposed
measures include reduced quotas for commercial fisheries and changes in bag limits, minimum size
limits, and slot limits for the recreational sector. Options for the use of circle hooks when fishing with
bait to reduce release mortality are also included. Final approval of the Draft Addendum is expected at
the October Management Board meeting.
Anglers and other interested groups are encouraged to attend New Jersey’s public hearings to provide
input on the Draft Addendum:

(Local meeting place)
Bay Avenue Community Center
 775 East Bay Avenue
 Manahawkin, NJ 08050
Anyone unable to attend the hearings should submit written comments by 5:00 PM (EST) on September
27, 2019 to:
Max Appelman
Fishery Management Plan Coordinator
1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N
Arlington, VA 22201
703-842-0741 (FAX)
comments@asmfc.org (Subject line: Draft Addendum VI)

For additional information, view the ASMFC New Release


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Bonita are a ton of fun on light tackle. Don’t you wish they got bigger? We do!!! Could you imagine twenty to forty pound Bonita?!?!?


Not much drift today so a bit slower than we’ve been seeing. Forecast is better for the next few days. 
Reminder: Wednesday August 21st we will NOT be fishing as we are headed to the AC Air Show.


Miss Barnegat Light - Deep Sea Fishing

Last couple days have been ok. Lots of action but searching for more keepers.

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Jeff Retallick does it again - 6.38lbs and 25” in the back bay on Bucktail and gulp! Nice fish Jeff!!

Nothing like having 4 generations of family on the boat, 5 year old Joe led the way with todays catch of 78 nice blowfish. Great grandpa bucky Jones, grandpas wayne and bill, and father Joe. A real family outing. This is one of the driving forces of why I love running charters.
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Lil man, Brayden Lowney age 2 hands on with dad in Harvey Cedars (Ocean side) catching fish & making memories. 
Mullet Rigs & Mullet on almost every cast. Jerry.


"58 fluke today in the bay. Not one keeper."



Fishing guide facing fines for catching stripers over legal limit

Fishing guide facing fines

LAKE TEXOMA, Okla. (KXII) - A Lake Texoma fishing guide is facing thousands in fines for catching close to three dozen striped bass over 20 inches long over the legal limit of two per day for a fisherman in Marshall County.

Court records show Shannon Newsom faces 32 misdemeanors for each big striper game wardens say his boat caught over the legal limit.

Game wardens tell us a week ago, he was the guide on his boat with three other people, two of whom were undercover game wardens.

"I don't care if it's a guide or a weekend fisherman. You break the law, you break the law. Period," said a Lake Texoma striper guide.

He wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

He said he trusts the limit set in place by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.

"They've set these rules in place for a reason and we believe they work," he said.

According to state law, every fisherman on the Oklahoma side of the lake must follow them.

Each fisherman can catch 10 fish per day, but only two of those can be 20 inches or longer.

"You can't keep more than your limit," he said.

Oklahoma Game Warden Trey Hale said if you catch more than the limit, you're supposed to throw them back.

He said that's because the bigger striped bass run the lake. They reproduce to keep the lake's reputation as a prime spot for striper fishing.

"Trust the biologists. Don't break the rules. If you do break the rules, you should be punished severely," the guide said.

Hale said that's what happened to one self-employed striper guide last Wednesday.

Court records show his name is Shannon Newsom.

He said when they went to clean the fish, game wardens noticed 42 total, so for four people on a boat, that's over the daily limit by two.

Plus, only 8 bass over 20 inches long were allowed. Hale said they had 34.

But it's the guide's job to keep up with the limit.

"You're either supposed to quit fishing or release them back into the lake. You cannot keep them," said the guide, who wanted to remain anonymous.

He thinks punishment should be harsher than a monetary fine.

"I think they should be banned for first offense. Jail time for second," he said.

Each charge Newsom could face is a $249 fine, making the total close to $8,000.

His court date is set for September.


When it didn't pay to go after the depleted groundfish stocks, the fleet of draggers started targeting squid. Heck, calamari became the official state appetizer of Rhode Island because over 100 boats in RI catch half of all the squid brought in on the East Coast. Jersey and other states also land tons of squid and you'll find calamari on more and more restaurants all over the country...but will we find more and more in the waters off our shores? Both the longfin squid and the illex squid in the article below are Marine Stewardship Council certified as sustainably caught. I hope we manage these important forage species better than we have cod, pollack, halibut, and even striped bass.


Greenhouse Gases Reach Unprecedented Level

On Aug. 8 atmospheric scientists from NOAA and NASA got a rare look at "fire clouds" as they were forming. NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Steven

A bleak new federal report found that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose to levels the world has not seen in at least 800,000 years, highlighting the irreversible and mounting deleterious effects of human activity on the planet, as ABC News reported.

Global carbon dioxide concentrations reached a record of 407.4 parts per million during 2018, the study found. That is 2.4 ppm greater than 2017 and "the highest in the modern instrumental record and in ice core records dating back 800,000 years," the report said, according to CNN.

It wasn't just the amount of carbon dioxide that set record levels. Other greenhouse gases like methaneand nitrous oxide also continued a rapid rise into the atmosphere. Together, the global warming power of greenhouse gases was 43 percent stronger than in 1990, according to the State of the Climate report released Monday by the American Meteorological Society, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information.

Greenhouse gases are not the only thing rising. Global sea levels also reached their highest levels on record for the seventh consecutive year, as ABC News reported. The report says that ocean levels are rising about an inch per decade, but that number may need to be revised if ice melt at the poles accelerates.

For global temperatures, 2018 ranked fourth, behind 2016, 2015 and 2017 for the warmest on record. That top four finish for 2018 is despite a La Niña system over the Pacific that cooled ocean waters for part of the year.

So far, 2019 is on track to be the warmest year in recorded history, according to NOAA.

Global sea temperatures also set a record level in 2018. "This record heat reflects the continuing accumulation of thermal energy in the top 2,300 feet (700 meters) of the ocean," according to NOAA. "Oceans absorb more than 90 percent of Earth's excess heat from global warming."

The State of the Climate report noted that glaciers continued to melt at an alarming rate for the 30th consecutive year, as CNN reported.

"Every year since the start of the 21st Century has been warmer than the 1981-2010 average," the report said, as CNN reported. "In 2018, the dominant greenhouse gases released into Earth's atmosphere — carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide — continued to increase and reach new record highs."

The 29th annual release of the State of the Climate report was led by NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information and relies on contributions from more than 470 scientists from nearly 60 countries around the world. It incorporates tens of thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets and provides a detailed update on global climate indicators and notable weather events, according to NOAA.

"This is yet another in a series of expert, science-based reports that continue to sound the alarm about the climate crisis," said Marshall Shepherd, a professor of geography and atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia and former president of the American Meteorological Society, to CNN. "[The] DNA of climate change is clearly seen now in our weather, agriculture productivity, water supply challenges, public health, and even national security concern."

"The findings from their State of the Climate report rise above some blog or opinion on social media," Shepherd added. "Through the process of science, they are sounding an alarm about the 'here-and-now' climate crises."


You have the unique opportunity to have your favorite fishing photo and story in the 2020 Freshwater Fishing Digest! It might be your child’s first fish, a particularly impressive catch, or something completely unexpected.
Just provide a photo of the angler holding the fish, along with 5-7 sentences about what made the experience so memorable. Winners will be selected by DFW staff.
Submit your photo and story to njfwfish@dep.nj.gov

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