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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, June 21, 2016: Never know when a hectic week will befall me … as it has.

Below: "Uh ... stop resisting!" 

4 pm. Significant hailstorm in Barnegat ... Photo Kevin Knutsen

Tuesday, June 21, 2016: Never know when a hectic week will befall me … as it has. And it won’t be taking a break from now through July 4th. Mark my word, this is going to be both a huge holiday weekend and also a crazy-busy summer. I’m not just basing that on every summer being such. The upbeat economy, happy gas prices and many folks finally finalized after Sandy will all join forces to go jog-wild, even during week days.

If I had to guess at days when it might not be as ball’s-out busy they would be Tuesdays and Wednesdays, especially the later.

Thursday will remain the new Friday, as strategic “days off” planners have cleared the way for a summer showing of five-day weekends.

I wrote about the insane number of vacation days Americans shun and have since seen where there is now a rebound effect. Per travel websites, more and more Americans are saying, for 2106, “Screw working on vacation days.” Bring on the Shore.

Obviously, that’s not the best news for weekday anglers hoping to get away from summer weekends’ maddening crowds. Hey, that ocean is huge … and the bay is a decent size. If you want to be a loner, be one. If you simply want a known hotspot to yourself, you’re in the wrong part of the world at the wrong time of year.

Which is a decent lead-in to the fluke fishery. It’s good, bad and ugly. The ugly includes tons of dogs in Little Egg Harbor and inlet areas. The bad are parts of Barnegat Bay where one bad-ass fluke, sometimes to over 10 pounds, is a session’s lone hookup of merit. The good remains up around Raritan Bay, where an angler I know put on two teasers and a jig and had a triple hookup, all undersized flatties … but still.

The surf remains highly uncooperative for suds fluking. For almost a week now, we’ve had a powerful, medium-period easterly groundswell. When combined with radical full-moon tides, it has stirred the nearshore water turbid and has also roughed it up to where tactful jigging for fluke is impossible. Once the waves drop -- and maybe the winds also -- there will be fine fluke in the suds.

I don’t think the surf is going to go striper crazy any time soon. It’s be more of the occasional resident fishes, well worth targeting … with patience.

For whatever reason, some surf spots seem to replenish with resident bass as quickly as they’re caught. I’m sure it has to do with bottom profile and forage. 

Below: Nick Honachefsky with Michael Gulotta

Chunkin for sharks, might as well order some pizza delivered right to the beach, Spicoli style!

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Playing with The back bay Small School Fish !!!! Fun

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As we get ready to shut Oyster Creek, this is kinda interesting that a state known for its open-mindedness is also pulling the plug on fission power ... though they lead the nation in research on nuclear fusion. 

California's last nuclear power plant to close

Los Angeles Times | June 21, 2016 | 7:25 AM

California's last nuclear power plant, the Diablo Canyon facility in San Luis Obispo County, will be phased out by 2025 under a proposal by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and labor and environmental groups, it was announced today.

Read more>>

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Below: Some seriously valuable St.John's Wort, near Stafford Forge.

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Hidden gold-ish beauties. The kidney bean-sized dogbane beetle, Chrysochus auratus, is an amazing looker on sunny summer days, when dozens can be brightly dining on a single dogbane plant. The plant’s light green leaves make a perfect backdrop to the insect’s wild iridescence. 
But, to me, dogbane beetles are far more than just a coolly-colored Coleoptera. I once assigned the beetle a huge literary significance. In college, I penned a rather intense thesis on why the dogbane beetle was assuredly in the mind’s eye of Edgar Allen Poe when he penned his famed story “The Gold Bug.” 
While Poe’s fanciful beetle definitely took some creative liberties, like a symbolic spot on each wing, every other descriptive in “The Gold Bug” points to a dogbane beetle. Most telling, it was an insect the author was surly familiar with from his naturalist outings near his homes in New York, Massachusetts and Virginia. 
My paper had a load of other proof points, pointing to the dogbane beetle as the “gold bug,” but back then I was inclined to argue about things far more than remembering them. 
While these smallish beetles can do a number on dogbane plants, it’s never enough to wipe them out. That would obviously be counterproductive to long-term survival. In fact, they appreciatively utilize the plant’s toxin for protection against predators. Yep, that’s identical to monarch butterfly caterpillars, which do a similar gnaw number on milkweed plants. 
To find colonies of gold bugs, look for stands of dogbane, which are very tall, showy and plentiful right about now.

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NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
On this day in 1782 the bald eagle was selected by the Second Continental Congress as the central image of the Great Seal of the United States. Today we celebrate the recovery of the bald eagle from the brink of extinction and the American values, qualities, freedoms, ideals, and heritage that this bird has become the living symbol of.

In 1970, only one nesting pair of bald eagles remained in New Jersey. Track their return to our state since 1985 with this story map by Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ:
http://conservewildlife.maps.arcgis.com/…/MapJo…/index.html…

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Check this out ... The pup's name is Fluke ... I kid you not. per his owner: " The dog is a goldendoodle puppy, 16 wks old ... Our boat's name is Getaround II and we were fishing in Double Creek. It was his first time in the boat."

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Joe DeGruttola

 was late but he was 90inches to the fork and had a 51inch girth. Freakin pig! Estimating it at 400 or more Lbs idk.. wish we got an official. Day 2 we went back and pushed a little further looking for the water again and it was no where to be found. 2 areas and only bluesharks in the 63 degree water. Great tournament as always. Missed my 1st Father's day for this but my family knows how much I love them and my daughter will understand why I have such a passion for this sport in the future!

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Double digit. Time to hit the scales!

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At the beach and catching keeper Fluke for dinner ...

Steve George

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Below: Love at first sight ... 

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40 years of change: For fishing industry, the spring of 1976 was the start of a new era
June 20, 2016 -- The following is excerpted from a story published Saturday by the New Bedford Standard-Times:

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- When you talk about fishing here in New Bedford, you have to start with the whaling era — and the lessons learned. 

For decades, the pursuit of whaling chugged along without any dramatic changes. The ships, the equipment, the culture remained essentially the same for years, feeding countless families, lining countless pockets ... until the bonanza ran out and the industry collapsed in the early part of the 20th century, never to be revived.

The fishing industry, both local and national, might have fallen into that same trap, but 40 years ago the U.S. government changed the game, adopting the most sweeping changes in the laws governing fisheries that reverberates to this day.

On April 13, 1976, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act was passed and immediately accomplished two major goals.

One, it set into motion a new and unique scheme of regulation to rebuild dwindling fish stocks, a system dramatically different than anything else the government had tried until 1976.

Two, it expelled foreign fishing vessels from fishing inside a 200-mile limit from America’s shoreline.

It isn’t talked about much today, but until 1976 the capacity of the foreign fleet exceeded the Americans, sending huge factory ships into fertile places like Georges Bank to virtually vacuum the fish into the hold and freeze it on the spot, allowing the ships to stay for weeks at a time. “There were West Germans, Poles, Russians, East Germans,” recalled former fisherman James Kendall, now a seafood consultant.

In 1975, the National Marine Fisheries Service reported there were 133 foreign fishing vessels fishing on Georges Bank. The Magnuson-Stevens Act ended that decisively.

Since 1976, much has changed. The unions, which once represented the fishermen and the workers in the fish houses, virtually disappeared from the waterfront. The venerable fish auction at the Wharfinger Building on City Pier 3 is now a museum piece, since the brokers years ago put down their chalkboards and picked up computer screens. Today it has evolved into a computerized display auction elsewhere on the waterfront, with complete transparency and documentation, and bidders located across the nation. 

What else has changed? 

For lack of a better term, everything.

Where, oh where has our groundfish fleet gone?

At the BASE New Bedford Seafood Display Auction, co-owner Richard Canastra called up data of groundfish sales in recent years that demonstrate a dropoff of more than 30 percent in the last few years alone.

Today there are some days that don’t warrant conducting the auction at all. “Sometimes it’s like a candy store,” he said. “Five pounds of this and three pounds of that.”

Much of the blame for the shrinking of the groundfish fleet, particularly in New Bedford and Gloucester, is laid at the feet of the catch shares and sector management introduced in 2010 by NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. It dispensed with most of the old days-at-sea  system, which had reduced the annual days at sea to 50, down from around 225, that the boats once had available to them.

The term “sectors” was unfamiliar to the industry when NOAA announced their arrival in 2010. Essentially they are cooperatives, in which individual boats are grouped together along with their catch allocations, and the sector manager manages them as efficiently as he or she can.

This was predicted to cause a consolidation of the industry into the bigger players as the smaller ones weren’t getting enough quota to make it profitable to fish.

For some boat owners, the problem was that the catch shares were determined by the history of the boats but the practice of shack left no paper trail, no formal record, so catch shares were reduced in many cases.

Dr. Brian Rothschild, dean emeritus of the UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology and a critic of NOAA, noted that many boat owners found that they can “own it and lease it out and obtain money in windfall profits” without even going fishing.

Oh, those pesky environmentalists!

It was “not right from the beginning that NOAA has enforced this,” Rothschild said. “On top of that, NOAA enforcement didn’t come from a desire to make good public policy but because it came under the influence of organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund,” he said.

Catch shares and sector management have, however, withstood legal challenges in federal court, because of a legal doctrine named Chevron, in which government institutions are allowed to interpret laws such as Magnuson any way they wish unless the departures from congressional intent are egregious.

Rothschild is among those who believe that sector management under Magnuson has been ignoring key provisions of the act, notably the socio-economic impact evaluation and the instruction to use the best available science. That has largely excluded scientists outside of NOAA itself.

Outside scientists have occasionally run rings around NOAA. For example, SMAST’s Dr. Kevin  Stokesbury’s invention of a camera apparatus to quite literally count the scallops on the seabed individually has revolutionized scallop management, opened the door to a treasure trove of healthy scallops, and made New Bedford the No. 1 fishing port in the nation.

But NOAA now employs its own camera apparatus. It conducts regular surveys of fish populations and that has been a very sore point at times in recent years.

This is a departure from the days before Magnuson, when fishermen were issued permits for various species and were left largely on their own to discover how many fish were in the ocean, which were already dwindling at the time.

Read the full story at the New Bedford Standard-Times

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