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Tuesday, December 20, 2016: Hey, how about recommending this site; News on the dredging front

The joys of kayaking ... 

Below: Why canines and felines seldom stalk prey together ... 

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016: Hey, how about recommending this site to anyone who might be even vaguely interested in Southern Ocean County fishing and outdoors … or politics, weather … you name it.  

I also want to give a final huge thanks to those who contributed to this site during the last and final fund drive. I’m thinking of having some out-there shirts, hoodies, etc. designed.

Below: I need to decide on whether or not to use the distressed look: 

Further below: Please give the press release (further below) from American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) a close read. I think it could eventually have huge implications for Holgate and, to a lesser degree, Barnegat Light.

Regarding BL, the whenever Double Creek dredging project will end with bay material being piped over land to the eroded south side of the New South Jetty. The material will come from the now-shoaled channel area fronting the borough’s boat launch and public docks, just south of the Coast Guard Station.

Below: Inlet water snaking through the jetty rocks below the decking. 

Interestingly, as I sat in on countless meetings regarding the building of the New South Jetty. I clearly recall predictions that the south side of the jetty, almost all the way to the concrete deck, would quickly erode away, leaving much of the jetty with water on both sides. As I see it, that didn’t play out – which sure hasn’t been the worst thing for tourism and nature. The still-there sands are a wonderful shorebird nesting and feeding area and the long stretch of south jetty-side beach has been heavily used by beachgoers. In fact, plans are in the offing to further utilize – and enhance -- that area for nature conservation, with a focus on nesting birds.

I’m in. In fact, I’d like to see some of that steadily impinging grass culled, pushing it south. Clearing the grasses will help keeps the foxes and (mainly) stray cats further from the nests, while offering an open sand expanse that can be rigged with video cams and humane alarms (scare-off devices). State park employees or nest-watch volunteers could be around at night to response to alarms or video sightings of predators.

As to Holgate, I see this legislation as a small step toward possibly using sand from the Little Egg shoals to reinforce Holgate beaches. But even more so, I see potential beach duty for any sand dredged from the intercostal waterway -- running adjacent to Holgate and all the way to Beach Haven, including Mordecai Island area and the east end of the Middle Grounds. That channel must be dredged one of these days. Even when deepened, it will not interfere with the “pristine” nature of Little Egg Inlet.

And LEI is the last nature-pure inlet area along the entire coastline. Hey, I was told that multiple times at meetings. One would think there’s just gotta be some lonely little inlet between Maine and the Key that hasn’t been jettied upon or bulkheaded. Maybe not.

I’ll note here that this legislation is likely aiming low, initially. Here’s a response from Chris Huch, who studies such things: “Everything is falling into place to allow for thin layer deposition but it seems to be more a beneficial way to get rid of dredge spoils than a true benefit to marsh systems. In theory it works but its only the beginning stages of study, particularly here in NJ. NJ municipalities are chomping at the bit to get approved to dredge their lagoons and waterways and have a cheap place to dump the material. I anticipate that thin layer deposition is going to be really hot for the next decade before it is rolled back a bit as we better understand the methodologies needed to successfully use it on marsh surfaces.”

Tom Rizzo reacts: “Well, it appears to change the environment, as well as use the spoils for profit. It will be very interesting to see what archaeological finds are made. The baseline for me is - how environmentally friendly is the outcome of the changes we make to our living space? Responsibility must be taken to ensure the changes will not impact the homes and cleansing properties of the intended waters and landscapes. Sadly, this bill does provide for the cleansing of the known sources of pollution. It's occurred to me that changing non-point pollution, to known sources of pollution, makes more sense. Those known source points allow for the introduction of chemicals that contain poisons to other living live forms. Ultimately, the poisons enter our food and air chains, leading to us poisoning ourselves. We're smarter than that, aren't we? In this time of giving love to one another, it's good to also give back goodness and subsistence to the lives in the nature which give the beautiful possibility to our lives.”

HERE'S THE RELEASE (Any further responses can be found on my Facebook page.) 

Water bill a “WIIN” for U.S. coastlines 
On Dec. 10, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed S.612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act” or the “WIIN Act” (also known as the Water Resource Development Act [WRDA]), which includes provisions to help protect, restore, and increase the resilience of U.S. coastlines. The bill passed the House 360-61 and the Senate 78-21. 
“Sediment is a critical resource for building and restoring protective beach and dune systems and restoring coastal environments. S.612 establishes an important pilot program that would allow coastal communities, states and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to beneficially use dredged sediment,” said Derek Brockbank, executive director of American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA).

“Supporting regional sediment management is just one way the WIIN Act helps coastal communities prepare for hurricanes and coastal storms. The WIIN also supports coastal resilience and sea level rise planning and tells the Corps of Engineers to assess the ability of natural and nature-based features – such as beaches, dunes and wetlands – to reduce flood risk.”

“The Coastal States Organization commends Congress for acting in bipartisan fashion to address the country’s coastal challenges,” noted Bradley Watson, Director of Coastal Resilience at the Coastal States Organization (CSO). “It is important that water resources legislation is considered and acted on and each Congress is given its potential to address immediate and long term challenges facing our nation’s coasts” he concludes.

This WRDA authorized water infrastructure projects – including seven hurricane and storm damage risk reduction projects on the coasts of South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Louisiana and California – as well as other coastal and inland flood risk reduction and environmental restoration projects.

In addition to authorizing projects, WRDA also establishes a number of policies and authorizes studies to help improve coastal resilience across the country. They include:

Section 1122 – Beneficial Use of Dredged Material. Establishes a pilot program for the beneficial use of dredged sediment by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) without being constrained by the Federal Standard. The placement of dredged sand and other sediment on beaches, dunes, and coastal wetlands can serve multiple benefits, including flood and storm risk reduction, ecological restoration, and adaptation to sea level rise. As sediment sources become increasingly scarce, managing sediment as a resource is essential for the USACE to achieve its multiple missions. This provision would allow the USACE to choose 10 project areas to beneficially use sediment with a federal cost-share (rather than being paid for entirely by local sponsors). It also allows states that are doing regional sediment management projects to more effectively use sediment dredged from both federally and non-federally authorized navigation projects.

Section 1183 – Coastal Engineering. Directs USACE to prioritize feasibility studies for coastal projects, including “shoreline restoration, tidal marsh restoration, [and] dunal habitats to protect coastal infrastructure,” from rising sea levels. It also authorizes “regional assessments of coastal and back bay protection and of Federal and State policies and programs related to coastal water resources.” Flood risk and coastal hazards do not follow state or USACE District lines and neither should their solutions. Furthermore, many branches of government have overlapping jurisdiction in promoting resilience to coastal hazards. This section will promote interstate, intergovernmental collaboration so that the states can have an increased role in developing solutions that are tailored to their region and federal agencies are coordinating with states and each other.

Section 1184 – Consideration of Measures. Directs the USACE to consider, as appropriate, all measures for coastal risk reduction, including natural, nature-based, nonstructural, and structural measures, when developing projects for coastal risk reduction.

Sections 1128 & 1129 – Multistate Activities & Planning Assistance to States. Allows states to jointly apply for planning and technical assistance from the USACE for coordinated interstate efforts with regional and national importance. Section 1129 includes a cost-share waiver up to $200,000 for all studies and projects for Island Territories.

Section 1204 – South Atlantic Coastal Study. Directs the USACE to conduct a study of the coastal areas located within the geographic boundaries of the South Atlantic Division of USACE (North Carolina to Alabama) to identify the risks and vulnerabilities of those areas to increased hurricane and storm damage as a result of sea level rise. This study will also include a focus on sediment resources and coastal erosion issues.

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Jim Hutchinson Jr.

Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah to all my fishing friends!

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December 13, super moon rising over Causeway. A view we don't see while traveling over the bridge.

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The Complete Guide to Catch, Photo, & Release Fishing

Published by Luke Simonds under 
Last updated on: December 19, 2016

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catch and release

Image: Capt. Justin Napior safely releasing a nice redfish

Are you “CPR certified” when it comes to fishing…

Either way, this post will reveal everything you need to know about CPR (catch, photo, release) fishing.

But first, let’s discuss why proper catch and release is so critical today.

To begin, fishing is more than “just fishing” for most of us anglers.

It’s a lifestyle that we want to enjoy forever…

And it’s a passion that we want to pass down to the next generation.

So it’s on us anglers to consistently do our very best to preserve our favorite past time by being good stewards of our fisheries.

And a big part of preserving our fisheries is making sure anything we throw back has the best chance of survival.

how to hold a seatrout
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Tony Acevedo posing with a big seatrout prior to quickly releasing it in Titusville, FL.

So if you want to have your kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids to have the same fishing experiences you did, we need more fish being properly cared for prior to release so they can thrive once back in the water.

Further, it’s our job to help teach others who are new to fishing the proper way to handle fish so that they properly practice catch and release fishing too.

And for those of us who enjoy sharing pictures of fish with friends and family, it’s very important to display catch and release practices in pictures even if the fish will be a guest at the dinner table because those who are new to fishing will see proper holding positions.

how to hold a grouper
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Gary Shaw holding a very nice grouper caught from shore in Sanibel, FL.

This article will cover the top 5 features of fish that we must always do our very best to protect.

And we’ll also cover best practices for getting the perfect picture to be able to share the catch with friends and family without causing harm to the fish.

5 Essential Parts Of The Fish To Protect

The following five parts of the fish are what we much focus our attention towards when handling a fish that is going to be released.

Because if any of them get compromised, they’ll have a hard time surviving after release.

how to hold a salmon

Matt Slack holding a salmon he caught in Pulaski, NY.

1. Gills

It is absolutely essential to make every effort to not touch or harm a fish’s gills when handling it.

Why?

Because harm done to these important tissues can result in a quick death for the fish because all fish rely on their gills to breathe.

Things to Do

  1. Use in-line circle hooks with fishing with live or cut bait because they are much less likely to gill or gut hook a fish
  2. Always be attentive to the rod when fishing so that to feel for strikes so that you can set the hook before it’s too deep
  3. Make sure that you keep your fingers and tools from touching the gills when unhooking a fish

Things to Not Do

  1. Never hold a fish by the gills
  2. Never stick pliers (or fingers) in through the gills to access a deep hook… just cut the line because the hook will rust out
  3. Don’t wait too long before setting the hook after feeling a bite
how to hold a snook

Larry Strickland holding a nice snook caught in Tampa, FL.

2. Jaw

A fish with an injured jaw will have a very tough time capturing its food.

And although a fish with an injured jaw may very well swim away energetically when released, an injury to its jaw could result in the fish being unable to feed making it unable to survive.

Things to Do

  1. Use extreme care to not force the entire weight of the fish by its jaw
  2. Take out hooks with the fish’s body either in the water or securely resting on a wet surface on your boat/kayak/etc.
  3. Use a fish grip to securely hold onto the jaw so your other hand can more easily be used to support its mid-section

Things to Not Do

  1. Don’t hold a fish vertically by the jaw
  2. NEVER torque the jaw in an effort to horizontally hold a fish by its jaw
  3. Don’t use barbed hooks (especially treble hooks) while catch and release fishing (push down barbs with pliers and replace treble hooks with single hooks on lures that come with treble hooks).
how to hold a striper

Nick Lytle holding an impressive striper caught in Navarre, FL.

3. Skin

Although the fish’s skin doesn’t seem to get as much focus in terms of things to protect, it surely shouldn’t be overlooked.

Especially as more and more chemicals from stormwater runoff enters our fisheries…

Why?

Because their skin is their core defense against harmful bacteria, parasites, and/or chemicals that are in the water.

And any loss to their “slime” on the outer layer or to their scales can put them at risk of a slow death from getting infected or poisoned.

Things to Do

  1. Pre-wet everything that will touch the first before it touches the fish (dip hands in water, splash water on deck of boat/kayak, dip landing net all the way into the water before netting the fish, etc.)
  2. Make sure to have all needed items for holding, taking a picture, and unhooking a fish in close proximity so it’s all easily and quickly accessible allowing for a smooth and quick release.
  3. Use a fish grip to secure the head of the fish so that you can minimize the needed touch area of the fish (and so it doesn’t slide around you or the boat if it continues fighting.

Note: If using a landing net, make sure it has a rubber lining on its netting (NO rope webbing)

Things to Not Do

  1. NEVER use a cloth rag to grab ahold of the fish that is going to be released
  2. Don’t bring a fish that you’re going to release in too quickly… better to spend more time reviving at the end than bringing an uncontrollable fish into a boat/kayak or onto the beach where it can lose lots of slime coating.
  3. Don’t rub a fish against dry clothing when taking a picture… get help from someone else if unable to hold the fish with just two hands or get in the water for a really cool pic.
how to hold a black drum

Chris Clark holding a big black drum caught in Crystal River, FL.

4. Internal Organs

Fish are designed to thrive underwater in a mostly horizontal position, and their internal organs are set up to help them thrive in that same environment.

So the internal organs of some species can get compromised when they are held vertically when out of the water since they simply were not designed to withstand gravity in that position (especially the bigger/older fish).

Things to Do

  1. Take care to not hold fish in the air vertically
  2. Use two hands to pick up a large fish so that you can support its mid-section

Things to Not Do

  1. NEVER hold a large fish up in the air vertically by its jaw (it can harm both its jaw and internal organs)
  2. Do not squeeze a fish with a lot of force in order to keep it securely held since that can cause damage to internal organs too.
how to hold a redfish
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Tim Graul with a nice redfish caught while kayak fishing in Vero Beach, FL.

5. Eyes

Fish heavily rely on sight to feed and stay out of trouble, so we always need to be very mindful to not damage their eyes in any way.

Things to Do

  1. Take care to not allow anything sharp or rough to tough/scrape their eyes

Things to Not Do

  1. NEVER hold a fish that is going to be released by its eye sockets

How To Take Great Pictures Of Your Catch

Capturing a great picture of a great catch is can be almost as rewarding as the catch itself…

Not only will it enable you to relive the awesome experience for many years to come from just looking at the picture, but it also can be a tremendous tool to help you share the joy of your catch with any friends and family members who weren’t fortunate enough to have been there to see the catch firsthand.

Plus, a great picture will ensure that there are no skeptics to your story of the big catch:)

how to hold a tripletail

Drew Ouzts and his brother Ben holding an impressive Tripletail caught off Apalachicola, FL.

Photo Taking Tips If Fishing With Others

Nothing is worse than having the best catch of your life not captured on film due to photographer error…

So if you’re going to be fishing with friends, make sure to have your camera in an easy to find location… and be ready to give specific directions to a friend on exactly how to use your camera if they don’t have a camera of their own.

Here are some general things to keep in mind when taking fish pics:

  1. Make sure that you and/or your fish is facing into the sun/light so that all colors are as clear and bright as possible
  2. Have your friend check the background to include or exclude items as needed (secret fishing location, even horizon, etc.)
  3. Take multiple pics in case any eyes were closed

Also, it also can be fun to get creative with angles to make a catch look better than it otherwise would…

For example, here’s a picture of a really small snook that I typically would not even consider taking a picture with. But I was fishing with a great photographer who was able to turn the not so great catch into an awesome photo.

Snook_pic_at_LGI_-_6-16-15

This picture is an example how a unique photo angle can turn a small catch into a treasured photograph.

Photo Taking Tips If Fishing Alone

Now that cameras are so small and user-friendly, it’s now fairly easy for you to be able to take excellent pictures of you with your catch without the help of anyone else…

It just takes some planning…

First, get to learn what features your camera has for taking delayed pictures or video footage.

Note: If your camera takes crisp video, then you’ll be able to pull the exact perfectly timed image from the video feed.

Tarpon_in_Tampa_jpg
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Here’s a cool tarpon jumping pic that I pulled from GoPro footage that I never would have dreamed to be able to capture from a single-shot photo.

Secondly, plan what sort of angle you want to capture and then make sure to set up some way to safely hold your camera in the right spot so that it can capture the image without getting lost.

For example,  here’s the very basic setup that Tony Acevedo uses to take his awesome pictures while fishing alone from a kayak.

camera-mount-for-kayak/>

Tony’s great pics are taken from just mounting his iPhone 6+ on a basic mount in front of his kayak while using its timer feature.

Finally, make sure to store your camera in an easily accessible location so that you can efficiently get it when the need arises.

Note: I recommend practicing a few times before on the water to make sure to get any bugs or inefficiencies out on dry land before it gets more difficult on the water.

how to hold a flounder

Ben Sweat showing that it’s possible to take cool pics with fish while balancing on a paddle board in St. Pete, FL.

Catch, Photo, and Release Fishing Equipment

Here’s a list of fishing equipment that can be extremely beneficial to catch and release fishing.

Fish grips – These tools grip on to a fishes jaw and do not let go until you want it to so that you can ensure the fish can’t accidentally get dropped while also decreasing the amount of area that is needed to touch a fish.

Needle-Nose Pliers: These are essential to have while fishing because they allow you to efficiently unhook a fish even if it’s hooked fairly deep and has a small mouth.

De-hooker: This is another essential tool that can help you more unhook a fish with minimal contact to the fish.

Waterproof phone case: Since phones these days have such nice cameras (amazingly nice in some instances), a waterproof phone case can help ensure that your camera doesn’t get ruined by getting wet (I’m sad to report that I learned the importance of a good waterproof case hard way).

Camera Mount: If you fish along and want to get great pics of your catches, then it is wise to get a camera mount so that you can safely and efficiently take pictures of you and your catch. Click here to see some awesome pictures that our kayak instructor T....

Ventilation Device (offshore): If offshore fishing, make sure that you’re ready to assist you fish with swim bladder issues back down to the bottom… watch the video in this linked post to learn more about ventilation....


Phillip Brown from Tampa, FL displaying some cool photo editing work to make such an awesome looking picture.

Conclusion

Since fishing is more than just fishing, we need to do all that we can to help ensure that our fisheries are as well cared for as possible.

So we need to consistently implement catch and release best practices to ensure that the fish we release can thrive.

And just as importantly, we need to display those best practices so that those who are less experienced can see the proper way to care for fish.

Furthermore, it’s on us to share proper catch and release practices with others who haven’t been informed of the potential deadly harm they can be unknowingly doing to their beloved catches.

Message to the “Fish Police”

No one likes “fish police” commenting on every single catch…

Please be kind and courteous to those who post pictures in social media with poorly held fish…

Because 99% of the time, they have no idea that they could be causing harm to their catch… if they did, they most certainly wouldn’t be posting pictures of themselves harming fish online for all to see and scold them for.

When not 100% certain of bad intentions, go with the honest mistake assumption because it’s most likely going to be right… name calling and public shaming makes the entire fishing community look bad.

We’re all in it together, so let’s continually focus on pulling anglers up vs. pushing them down.

How To Kindly Inform Others:

Help spread the best practices for catch, photo, and release fishing when you see that there is a need.

If it’s an online post, then perhaps kindly send them a link to this article (or any others that you feel are helpful) and simply say that it has some valuable tips at efficiently practicing catch, photo, and release fishing.

P.S. – If you think your angler friends or fishing networks would like to see this to help spread the cause, then please Tag them or Share this with them. You Rock! Pa-POW!

Related Posts:

Final Note: If there are any inaccuracies in this post or other important things to consider when handling a fish that is to be released, then kindly use the comment section below to play a part in helping us all better care for our beloved fisheries… I’ll gladly make any needed adjustments to it at any time so that it’s as helpful as possible.

In the meantime, let’s see more fish being released as healthy and strong as they were prior to being caught

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