Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
This week's close-enough award goes to ... Look closely ....
I just got done writing about the deer strike dangers this time of year and don't I come across these two fawns absolutely unsure which way to go on this fairly speedy piece of roadway.
Tuesday, June 22, 2021: For now, I’ll let the UFO thing remain in limbo, waiting to talk with the folks who first called in about the splashdown – and possibly the gal who found the video images. I’ll tease a bit by saying my first go-round was a tad just-for-fun-ish. Now, things have upticked, as I’m getting more input, While nothing of newsiness, it just further proves there is more to this than meets the eye. I’m getting confident enough that I might run with the story in my next SandPaper fishing column – for July 4th -- you know, offer another reason to look skyward, other than fireworks.
Yet another broken record warning, this one offering a thunderous alert about lightning. It looks like we’re in quite a T-storm pattern. Pop-ups have been popping up for all they’re worth. When the air is ripe, offering a very noticeable mugginess, keep a low profile, literally, even when storms are only offering rumbling rolls of distant thunder.
New radar apps can be a huge help in getting off the beach well ahead of strike time. A number of lighting tragedies on NJ beaches have come when folks dillydallied.
As to boating in amongst flashing skies, YouTube can show the sheer folly of thinking boats are somehow safe or immune from direct hits.
As for hiding in the water ...
Finally found one of the photos I took of surf clam days of yore ...
For no particular reason, I’ve been researching New Jersey’s self-defense laws. As expected, they’re complicated, if not convoluted. Nonetheless, they can matter a ton if you, a loved one, or even a stranger in need are confronted by an obvious aggressor(s). I highlighted the obvious part because our state laws demand you must first notice specific signs of an aggressor in action before getting self-defensey.
In simplesse, a self-defense scenario arises when you believe force is needed to immediately thwart an aggressor.
Sounds good, but thoroughly sours with the legal realization that you, as a potential victim, are required to take flight, first and foremost. You read right, NJ law dictates that when you are being confronted, to virtually any degree, you have an overriding duty to retreat. What we kids called run-a-fu.
In legalese, “The use of force is not justifiable [when] the actor (you) knows that he can avoid the necessity of using such force with complete safety by retreating or by surrendering possession of a thing …”
Oh, lookie there, I forgot to mention you must also give up your belongings, lest you be found guilty of violating the letter of this law – as a victim. Judge: “You mean to say you bopped this robber in the nose … instead of running? Have you no respect for the law?!”
Now, I’m confused. Do I run first … or give up my belongings? To make sure I don’t break the law, I think I’ll run while throwing my belongings into the air. That should give me a solid alibi in court, right? It's hard being a victim in NJ.
When retreat – and the throwing of personal possessions -- is not an option, resorting to self-defense must still meet three legal qualifications.
According to the law firm of Lubiner, Schmidt, and Palumbo:
I read this as a “Calm Down!” clause, similar to the “Let’s talk about this” clause. It means all talking, bargaining, or begging has been exhausted – though crawling away isn’t off the table for disabled folks. I’m not sure where running fits in.
This is a tricky read. Face it, a cop, PO (parole officer), or other persons of authority have a legal right to come at you, possibly to assist you out of a bar, so you can’t go all martial arts in the name of self-defense.
Can it get more convoluted? Technically, you can’t pull out a defensive object, like a knife or tactical flashlight, if being confronted by someone coming at you with mere fists. It can be seen as excessive force. That ridiculed, judges always look at extenuating factors, like the size, temperament, and training of all involved. “They (the court) look at the size, age, and physical condition of both individuals in assessing whether self-defense was necessary.” This amount-of-force factor is a whirlpool within the self-defense law stream.
The advice of the legal firm Aita Law LLC, “You cannot use excessive force; that is, you can’t retaliate with more force than you are threatened with. A man grabbing your arm doesn’t justify shooting him, and verbal aggression doesn’t warrant physically retaliating. Escalating an encounter is not usually seen as self-defense, even if the other person started the altercation.”
Sorry, folks, but in NJ you are literally and legally supposed to compute all the above variables while being subjected to possibly the worst stress you’ve ever known. Yep, it’s as often as not all on you … as a victim! Run-a-fu is looking better by the minute.
Now, when it comes to defending others from unlawful acts of aggression, a whole other standard applies. Obviously, there is no duty to retreat. When in defense of others, you can use the “necessary force” to repel or even disable an aggressor. And necessary force now has the upper hand. When you come in on a white horse, you’re not as hampered by those three self-defense rules.
Even if you mistakenly thought someone needed help -- and entered swinging -- you can still claim it was done on good faith “if the circumstances make the mistake reasonable.” That concept is closely related to the famed “Good Samaritan” law, which offers legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those who are, or whom they believe to be, injured, ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated.
As to the big self-defense issue, the use of deadly force, New Jersey is not nearly as locked and loaded as many/most stand-your-ground states. However, according to the New Jersey Bar Foundation, “While New Jersey does not have a stand your ground law on its books, it does address the use of force in self-protection. New Jersey’s statute states: ‘The use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable when the actor reasonably believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion…’”
To this point, this segment has primarily addressed street-grade self-defense situations. When it comes to the oft terrifying matter of home defense, NJ abides by the historic Castle Doctrine, which asserts a person has a right to defend their home with force against an intruder.
Alert: Do not take this old British law to mean you’re home free when it comes to taking on perps who have busted into your domicile. Amazingly, Garden Staters, upon finding a home invader(s) burgling -- or even just standing there in the hallway, menacingly – must, by law (!), demand the intruder leave before you can use force … any force! It’s the ask-them-to-leave method. Failure to ask nicely can get you charged. WTF!?, right!
Obviously, all this only touches on the basics of self and home defense, but it’s not a bad encapsulation, so much so that I hope it provokes further research on the matter, especially if there’s any chance you’ll find yourself in a self-defense scenario while living in a state where it sure seems criminals have the legal edge.
RUNDOWN: I never go big on hyping fluke, except to mention how they’re running in the most general terms. To that end, I’ll note some exceptionally gorgeous flatties are intermittently coming from bay, inlet and ocean. Larger fluke have been thick as all get out, back straps offering proverbial “slabs.”
I’ll go aggravatingly repetitive by beseeching folks to not toss out filleted fluke racks. Fully utilize them – head and all – by boiling for broth or even baking (BBQ’ing) to allow any scrumptious missed flesh to be forked off and dipped in butter. I swear the meat closest to the bone is the finest.
Can fluke be more stunning from one year to another? Absolutely. A sure explanation is highly favorable forage, which is known to demonstrably increase a fish’s fatness and comeliness. For the last 20 years, just the bunker stocks alone have enriched gamefish, which thrive on such fatty forage.
Of import, fattiness and plentifulness are two entirely different matters. You can have the last of an overfished species sporting comely chubbiness.
Still no way to categorize the bluefish bite, except to say it’s far from a thing of beauty, consistency-wise. Here today and highly elsewhere tomorrow. Overall, it’s still worth throwing metals or plastics for any lingering blues. For the minor expense of lost tails, plastics on jigheads are the best bluefish grabbers, even above bait.
The bluefish unpredictability factor caught me a bit of friendly grief from a longtime buddy who saw my last column in The SandPaper’s online edition (thesandpaper.net/) and rushed down to score some smokable bluefish fillets from off the South Jetty (BL). “All I got was a couple stinkin’ fluke,” he emailed … albeit with a LOL smiley face.
He and I are both huge bluefish fans, always trying to outdo each other by putting his smoked bluefish -- from a hugely costly smoker -- up against my obviously superior bluefish jerky, made in a plastic $19.99 veggie drier.
Striped bassing has once again had its moments in the sun with some daytime and after dark trophy cows being caught (two tagged) and released. There have been some mighty fine suds stripers taken this summer. Great job, A-Company.
We’re entering that time when we pick at resident stripers, either slow to move north or settling here for the summer.
For me, summer stripering hasn’t been the same since jetties/groins went under. For decades on end, early morning plugging along my street end rocks (Ship Bottom) would consistently sucker in a couple/few smaller bass, per jetty. I would most often jig sand eel lookalike plastics, though nearby Surf Cityite pluggers would often out-catch me using small swimmers and such. There is still summer stripering hope by working the beachline with small artificials, often enticing swash fluke to grab hold.
Kingfish have been there for the mugging, providing your street end is a hot spot. With kingfishing, you’re either on a hot spot or totally not. There’s seldom an in between since they travel in such tight schools.
With the cleaner ocean water of late, I might have to soon resurrect my a.m. custom of donning a mask to swim parallel to the beach, out a short way, atop where kingfish play. I stopped that exercising routine prior to waterproof video cams coming into vogue. Since I used to be able to get close to feeding kings, I should be able to go GoPro and nab some images, showing how kingfish eagerly feed along the bottom, head swinging, tails slightly up -- moving atop the sand like an army of tiny vacuum cleaners.