Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, March 24, 2020: Ship Bottom has announced it is not closing oceanside beaches ... gas prices to plunge (?)


Tuesday, March 24, 2020: Ship Bottom has announced it is not closing oceanside beaches to springtime public usages. I emphasize “springtime usages” since things could change – for the better, worse or in-between – as a massive influx of all the usual summer suspects arrive.

The “usual suspects” is my way of referring to our regular annual summerites, coming down as they have for decades on end, maybe even centuries on end. I refuse to label those folks as opportunistic interlopers, arriving on the wings of a virus. They’re seasonal locals, plain and simple.

As to the Island’s other five municipalities, I haven’t been able to get official word on what they’ll do about beach access, though I know the ruckus that would arise with a full closure.

Seaside Heights just enacted a no-use policy for its beaches. It’s a kneejerk overreaction! I know full well that town parties like few others in the summer, but it ain’t summer yet. The locals will not only be enraged but could then become defiant in matters and places that truly need rigid adherence to quarantining protocols.

YES, WE’RE ESSENTIAL! You’ll see below that the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) has sent a written request to Col. Patderick J. Callahan, Superintendent of New Jersey State Police (NJSP), “seeking essential status designation for New Jersey’s recreational fishing industry during the crisis.”  

As calmer heads hopefully prevail in the quarantining realm, time and scientific research should enter the picture -- to scientifically sort out what are essential closures, as opposed to bans and closures that do absolutely nothing to slow the spread of COVID. Of course, many energetic creative types can connect virtually anything with the spread of a disease that will stop at nothing. It’s going to continue spreading like wildfire regardless of the best intended closures.

I’ll again openly question how funneling everyone toward “essential” businesses isn’t the ultimate in cross-infecting.

I promise I’m not a quarantine buster. My extended family includes not just old but ancient folks. It simply seems that not having a good grasp on where the true spreading is taking place fuels a pandemic. Remember that old football defensive lineman mantra, “I just tackle the whole backfield then sort through it to find the quarterback.” Well, that might not work in singling out the main source of outbreaks. 

SAVINGS IN THE MAKING: As too many folks sweat out where the next paycheck is coming from, I can move toward a far more endearing subject: Dropping gas prices.

While we won’t soon see .99 a gallon, as sections of the Midwest have seen – while averaging $1.70 across all octane levels – only another round of state gas-tax gouging can prevent our routinely going below $2 a gallon (regular) by as early as this summer.

Below: Kentucky this week. 

Locally, we should offer some thanks to Indians, as in Calcutta-type Indians, who man those cheapy gas stations along Route 9. I’ve befriended a couple of them. They are some very fine folks, though they tell me they fear (and despise) being mistaken for Muslims.  DYK, Indians have been in a bitter nuclear-weapons-backed struggle with a neighboring Muslim nation, Pakistan, for many decades.

 (Come on, you can tolerate a touch of history, via The Atlantic.)

“The ink was not yet dry on the 1947 charter of sovereignty before what had been one great single nation under British rule became split into two sullenly hostile countries, Pakistan and India.”

The hatred on India’s part is easily on par with our hatred toward the likes of Isis and Jihadists – and for the same reason. Hudson.com reports, “Today, both ISIS and AQIS (Jamaat Qaidat al-Jihad fi’shibi al-qarrat al Hindiya) are competing throughout South Asia to win recruits, conduct terror attacks, and foment religious turmoil—and both have increasingly fixed their gaze on India.”

That said, I also have some localized Pakistani friends, who are, themselves, extremely nice.

While this could exemplify the difference between nations as political wholes versus everyday people who make them up, I won’t soon be introducing my Indian and Pakistani gas pumpers.

Returning to the cheapie pumps along route 9, -- especially the mega low-priced station at the sharp turn off Rte. 9 in New Gretna (the last station before the Parkway) -- their always-lowest pump prices – as dictated by the owners of the station -- actually work to keep larger big-name stations from conniving to keep prices high to then run off with any gains from near catastrophically low oil prices. Credit cards often lead to folks paying higher pump prices when spending cash is at a premium.

That said, I understand that higher pump prices at nearby places, like Wawa Rt. 72, Manahawkin, reflect the added cost of maintaining a veritable team of pumpers. Even at an added cost per gallon, I nobly pull in there now and again, just to keep those dedicated workers going strong, though they never seem to be suffering from a lack of business.

As to the likely upcoming drop of prices at the pumps, I’m never sure/shore where to go with that after a fill-up. “There. What a deal I got! Now what?” Maybe I should aimlessly drive around to use up the gas so I can rush back and buy more at that great low price. That’s too weird for even me. If I was younger and freer, I would schedule a cross country drive, making sure to top-off in OK, the state where the nation’s lowest petrol prices thrive. Hey, Les. H, what a time for a road trip, eh?


Frank Ruczynski
This one came out a lot easier than it looks. You can perform miracles with jaw spreaders and needle-nose pliers. #pickerel #rapala #shadowrapshad #treblehooks #hookremoval #fishing #tools
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Thinking stripers – and tons of time now on many angler hands – there’s no reason, legal or quarantine-wise, not to get out and do some line dipping.  Night fishermen are telling me that anywhere there’s light on the bay water, from whatever source, bass catching potential is high, providing water is deep enough. Beach Haven has a few hot spots, while I haven’t lit it up working bayside Ship Bottom. When success salutes, talk about small stripers.

Of note: LBT has discontinued issuing beach buggy permits. It doesn’t matter in Holgate where buggying days are done for spring. I believe beachcombing is still allowed, based on info on the Forsythe website.

I’ll likely be giving the north end a look real soon, mainly the jetty area. While the Lighthouse is close, the park itself is conducting business as usual, per Gov. Murphy’s degree that all state parks should remain open for properly spaced visitors. If I get energetic, I’ll do a quick cast-about over at The Dike. Right now – having just worked 13 hours straight (hectic hours at that), I’m far from fired up over exertion of any sort. A few hours sleep should cure that.

WILEY WORLD: Yet another quite-cool update on our quasi pet coyote.

Jay -

“As a follow-up to your article, as a part of the year resident of Barnegat Light, I can attest and confirm there is a coyote resident in the Barnegat Light area. It was first captured on our security camera the winter of 2017/18 when the bay froze over. A neighbor on the adjacent street overlooking the bay confirmed he saw it out walking on the ice around the same period of time I recorded it. It then appeared again the following 2018/19 winter on our security camera. Then this past April 2019, while walking down by the kayaks storage area near bay beach in Barnegat Light, my wife and I spotted the coyote hunting a shore bird along the edge of the tall grasses in the late afternoon.

We had a biologist confirm it was coyote based on the video footage, since some friends questioned if it wasn’t a fox. We have noticed since its appearance, the number of cats and raccoons that wander through our yard has significantly dropped off from what we noted years earlier, almost to nil. But you’ll be happy, for the first time in January and February 2020, we have had multiple times either a single or a pair of opossums strolling about at night in our flower beds. I can forward pictures of the coyote from both winters of 2017 and 2018 if interested. It looked very healthy.

Glenn M”


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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order on March 21 closing down non-essential retail operations in the state to help stem the spread of Coronavirus, prompting a request from the Recreational Fishing Alliance for a fishing exemption.
By Jim Hutchinson  |  March 24, 2020
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (left) and State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan participate in a video conference on March 19 with President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and various White House officials regarding COVID-19.

On Saturday, March 21, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order No. 107 directing all residents to stay at home until further notice, while providing certain exceptions like obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attentions, visiting family or close friends, reporting to work, or engaging in outdoor activities. Governor Murphy’s executive order aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-10 also ordered the closing of all non-essential retail businesses as of Saturday night.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) responded on Monday by way of an official waiver request to Col. Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of New Jersey State Police (NJSP), seeking essential status designation for New Jersey’s recreational fishing ... during the crisis. Signed by RFA executive director Jim Donofrio, the letter to Col. Callahan seeks the Superintendent’s consideration of “those in the recreational fishing industry, bait and tackle shops and licensed for-hire operators catering to legal, sustainable harvest of seafood for personal consumption” as essential retail operations, so long as those businesses take precautions for the health and safety of both workers and customers.

There was no immediate response from the State of New Jersey or the NJSP as of Tuesday morning, but The Fisherman Magazine will stay on top of the RFA effort on behalf of the recreational fishing industry in New Jersey, and efforts to help anglers continue fishing safely and sustainably through the COVID-19 crisis.

The RFA letter to Col. Callahan is as follows.

In the final interpretative breakdown of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 107 Issued on Saturday, March 21, 2020, it states where “Manufacturing, industrial, logistics, ports, heavy construction, shipping, food production, food delivery, and other commercial operations may continue operating, but as explained above, they should limit staff on site to the minimal number to ensure that essential operations can continue.”

As the governor has deemed commercial fishing an essential business by way of “food production, food delivery and other commercial operations,” it is formerly requested that the recreational fishing industry by way of retail bait and tackle shops and licensed for-hire operators also be allowed to operate during the COVID-19 crisis. Essential fishing equipment like bait, tackle, waders, foul weather gear and the like are often purchased by existing “essential” business and municipalities in New Jersey by way of local bait and tackle shops, which operate as all-purpose outfitters in most shore communities. For those making a living at most Jersey Shore towns, the local tackle shop is an essential operation.

The U.S. Department of Commerce through its National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) adheres to a federal policy pertaining to non-commercial activities of fishermen who fish for sport or pleasure, as set out in the Magnuson Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act’s definition of recreational fishing, whether retaining for personal consumption or releasing their catches, as well as the businesses and industries (e.g., the for-hire fleets, bait and tackle businesses, tournaments) which support them. Under this federal definition of recreational fishing, it is critical during the COVID-19 crisis in New Jersey to consider how recreational fishing businesses in New Jersey are essential to serving those who fish for subsistence, or those supplementing family diet with fresh, sustainably harvested New Jersey seafood.

A caveat in the Governor’s edict reads “If you believe that your retail business or operations are unique and should be included as "essential," you may submit it to the State Director of Emergency Management, who is the Superintendent of State Police. Recognizing how the Director as having the discretion to make additions, amendments, clarifications, exceptions, and exclusions to these lists, we humbly respect that an allowance be made for those retail businesses serving New Jersey’s fishing industry and recreational fishermen. Many of these bait and tackle shops in particular can operate with few staff in places, taking orders by phone and leaving necessary bait or tackle product curbside for pickup. Thus, similar to what is already contained in Executive Order No. 107 in reference to “Manufacturing, industrial, logistics, ports, heavy construction, shipping, food production, food delivery, and other commercial operations,” we formally request something along the following be considered for these unique New Jersey businesses.

Allow for “those in the recreational fishing industry, bait and tackle shops and licensed for-hire operators catering to legal, sustainable harvest of seafood for personal consumption may continue operating, but as explained above, they should limit staff on site to the minimal number to ensure that essential operations can continue.”


Fishing, Aquaculture and Food Processing Considered ‘Essential’ Services in Maine


March 25, 2020

With each state making different mandates, it’s unclear what jobs and services are considered “essential” during the coronavirus outbreak. While each state is releasing their own information, Maine has made it clear that they consider those in food processing, fishing and aquaculture as “essential.”

On Tuesday Maine Governor Janet Mills issued an Executive Order mandating that “all non-essential businesses and operations in Maine close their physical locations that are public facing.” The Executive Order also closed non-essential business sites that “require more than 10 workers to convene in a space where physical distancing is not possible.” 

The order, which went into effect on Wednesday, and is in place until April 8, 2020 at 12:00 a.m., left many workers uncertain about whether they were legally allowed to continue working. However, the Maine Department of Marine Resources sent a bulletin clarifying the Executive Order:

“NOTE that food processing, fishing and aquaculture are considered essential services under the Executive Order and shall continue their activities consistent with guidance on social distancing included in the order.”

Although fishing, aquaculture and food processing is considered “essential,” the coronavirus has already delayed Maine’s multi-million dollar comercial baby eel season. Patrick Keliher, the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, said that “portions of the elver fishery make it impossible to follow social distancing recommendations, including maintaining 6 feet from other people to reduce the spread of this disease. The fishery was pushed back to April 5, but it could potentially be delayed further.

With that said, Governor Mills is working on some relief for the state’s fishing and seafood industries. Over the weekend she urged President Donald Trump to marshal resources of federal government to support Maine’s fishing and seafood industries. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a substantial toll on Maine’s independent fishermen, aquaculturists, wholesale dealers, and seafood processors,” Gov. Mills wrote to Trump. “The markets for their products are collapsing both globally and locally. The men and women who ply our waters harvesting lobster, groundfish, herring, shellfish, countless other species, and farming aquacultured products are the very backbone of our rural coastal economy.”

One of the bigger issues here is that Maine’s fishermen are not eligible for unemployment because they’re technically independent operators.

“In the short-term, harvesters have only limited opportunities within their communities to sell small quantities of product in the hopes of earning just enough money to buy weekly groceries,” Mills continued. “In the long-term, it is clear that the collapse of the international and larger domestic markets will devastate Maine’s commercial fisheries.”

What Happens to All Surplus Food? Restaurants Offer Up Supplies and Groceries


Copyright © 2020 The Cincinnati Enquirer
By Polly Campbell
March 25, 2020

At the same time that there are empty shelves at grocery stores and shoppers struggle to find what they want, food is going to waste in closed restaurants and wholesalers.

"It's just a different supply chain," said Stephen Harman, co-founder of Fusian sushi restaurant. "There are restaurant wholesalers and there are grocery wholesalers. A restaurant wholesaler can't just switch to selling to Kroger."

Now, along with ordering sushi and rice bowls through Fusian's website, you can order from a limited list of groceries, including avocados, white rice and brown rice. They'll deliver with one of their own vehicles or a third party.

Frisch's is offering supplies and groceries through their regular takeout system, selling milk and bread and toilet paper and tuna salad stocked in their commissary. Frisch's business is already about 40-50% to-go, whether that's drive-thru, pickup or delivery, so they've managed to keep a greater percentage of their employees working than some restaurants. At www.frischs.com, you can order from a pretty good list of essential groceries.

Some restaurants have organized sales of the food they had on hand. Revolution Rotisserie in Pleasant Ridge organized what they had into lists and offered it to the neighborhood, who paid ahead and picked up at the restaurant. Owner Nicholas Pesola has decided not to try to operate carryout. He made enough to pay outstanding bills and a week of salary to managers.

On a larger scale, Mike Haunert, the President of Sysco Cincinnati, the local division of national, publically traded restaurant supply company, said they've been pedaling as fast as they can. He says while his inventory is piling up, "they're screaming for it in retail."

"We have 40% of our product in the cooler," he said, meaning perishable, so they're working on a quickly moving timeline. Because they sell some food-service items to Kroger, they've been able to supply them with a wider variety of products, including fresh produce.

"If we can find a retail customer, we do that, but then it makes sense to go to donations," Haunert said. "We have a very good relationship with the Freestore Foodbank and with La Soupe."

The challenge is getting everything sold or donated before it expires.

Kam Siu, who owns Panda Trading Company, which sells to Asian restaurants, has completely pivoted. "We have never hustled so hard in our lives," he said. With no restaurants to sell to, he set up deliveries to consumers, instituted a neighborhood program where people could have cases delivered and shared with neighbors. And then even created customized boxes in smaller quantities than crates. He said response has been very good. "We're thinking home delivery of fresh produce might be a permanent thing for us," he said. For now, he's just running orders from his personal Facebook page, but they're working on a website.

He also made a deal with a wholesaler who supplies Kroger, to take some of his produce and help fill those empty bins at stores.

Pic's Produce, a family-owned food distributor that's more than 100 years old, is doing very little business, though they still have a few accounts. They laid off everyone but family members and gave away their perishable stock to employees. They've also sold some to customers who come to their warehouse on Paddock Road, said Jim Pichichero.

Creation Gardens, a restaurant food distributor, gave away four skids of produce. Some restaurant wholesalers have simply given away some food, and others are donating to efforts to feed people who are out of work.

The LEE Initiative, a Louisville-based philanthropic organization for restaurants, has set up an operation to use surplus food to feed restaurant workers who have been laid off. It's operating at Mita's Downtown. They are receiving donations from many places: wholesalers, restaurants, manufacturers, small businesses, turning the food into meals-to-go for laid-off restaurant workers. They serve one time a day and will continue to do so. (They are accepting donations at Goose and Elder, which is open for business.) To receive a meal, you need an ID or pay stub to show you're a restaurant worker.

La Soupe, the tireless organization whose mission is to rescue food and turn it into soup and meals for those who need it, has ramped up. They rescued food from five closed Procter and Gamble cafeterias, among others. Founder Suzy De Young is trying to set up satellite kitchens to feed laid-off workers.

The supply chain includes local producers who supply restaurants almost exclusively.

Ryan Morgan, who owns Sixteen Bricks Bread, has built up a business baking bread and other baked goods to restaurants. They do have a little bit of retail, including the Downtown Kroger, but the business is 87% restaurant-based. He has laid off 27 people. "It's been an emotional roller-coaster," he said. "But they're basically better off with unemployment than trying to rely on me. I've kept people I can give enough hours to." He'll be selling his bread out of his bakery on Saturdays, and maybe other days if demand warrants. "I'm doing a lot of whole-grain bread. I feel like we need healthy food in this situation," said Morgan. He'll take orders in front of the bakery at 4760 Paddock Road and accept payment with Venmo or Pay Pal.

Waterfields, a locally-based indoor farming operation that grows herbs and microgreens, almost exclusively to restaurants, closed down and gave away all their product. They laid off their 13 employees. "It breaks my heart," said Daniel Klemens, who started Waterfields with partners with a social mission to create careers for people who hadn't had opportunities. "Even when things start up again, it will take us six weeks to get back up to speed."

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