Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, May 21, 2019: I’ve lost some readership due to ... Please don't leave me. I get lonesome so easily.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019: I’ve lost some readership due to “too many” photos of big bass being kept. That’s bogus, somehow blaming me. I’m convinced that it’s newsworthy to see weigh-ins and such. What the pics evoke can be good, bad and ugly. That’s life … and freedom of expression.

You’d be hard-pressed to point out any other blog or columns that eclectically cover so many other things above and beyond mere weigh-ins. Hopefully, my tons of sundry stuff will convince readers to move past any writings, photos or comments they dislike.  

Trying to remain upbeat, part of the problem is how dang good the bassing has been this spring. Let’s give it up for Spring 2019. And it’s still happening in a big-bass way, with tons of smaller bass also moving onto the hookup scene.

You have to agree, this latest batch of schoolies is an entirely new second wave of undersized fish migrating from the south. Overall, going back over a month, this is an astounding showing for a supposedly badly damaged fishery. (It’s not.)

Just to keep on relatively good terms with Save the Trophy Bass types, I fully admit that we must find a sensible way to allow an s-load of these schoolies to reach their maximum size -- while understanding that only a small portion are genetically programmed to reach trophy sizes of 40 pounds and up. If only there was a way to distinguish female stripers on sight, like blueclaw crabs. Sorry, that was merely a weird passing notion.

As for bluefish, they do are having a second showing, along chopper lines. The eater blues are still plentiful but folks on those have had their lighter gear outclassed by chopper to over 10 pounds – being taken by those casters using heavier gear.

The coming weekend could be one of the finest fishing Memorial Day stints in years on end. The only tricky part, per usual, is the wind. Winds are not expected honk but this time of year the entire coastline can kick up far beyond forecast MPHs. Early looks inviting, as does after dark, surfcasting-wise. The bay has had some nice showing of lager blues, even the BHW lagoons -- see below. That's wild.  

BROTHER BILL’S PIECE OF REEF: The Little Egg Reef will soon get a fine new chunk of, uh, reefage. A shipyard caisson will be sunk. It will be named the “Bill Figley” portion, in honor of our good buddy Mr. Artificial Reef himself, Mr. William Figley of Manahawkin. Bill truly is the man who sparked the state’s artificial reef project.  

When Bill himself brought up the sinking of a caisson, I said “Cool” -- as if I knew what a caisson was, per se. I did quietly hum the Army-related song about caissons rolling along -- and pictured an olden ammunition wagon from the civil war. Not even close. In the reef-building sense, a caisson is an utterly huge steel unit used to hold out water while a ship is built within. Some caissons are big enough to hold massive naval vessels. I’m checking on whether the one set to become the Figley Reef will be from the Philly shipyard or from more down toward Norfolk.

When dropped underwater, it will become a monumental bathtub-ish structure, which is ideal for biota to establish themselves -- followed by an entire marine ecosystem.

In the past, Bill and I have talked about how amazingly fast the first growths begin on freshly placed reef material. Just as speedy, is the arrival of larger creatures, capped off by gamefish. Here's some reading: https://www.doi.gov/blog/artificial-reefs-create-homes-sea-life.

Also: “New Jersey's Artificial Reef Program provides a network of 15 artificial reefs in the ocean waters along the New Jersey coast. These reefs provide a hard substrate for fish, shellfish and crustaceans, fishing grounds for anglers, and underwater structures for scuba divers. The reefs are strategically located along the coast so that 1 site is within easy boat range of 12 New Jersey ocean inlets.

“Artificial reefs are constructed by intentionally placing dense materials, such as old ships and barges, concrete and steel demolition debris and dredge rock on the sea floor within designated reef sites. Every deployment of these materials increases the complexity and productivity of a reef,” per the DEP.

CAUSEWAY NEWS: Here’s a SandPaper piece by Gina Scala. It’s in regards to what I’ll call a soft opening of the new Causeway, tomorrow (Wednesday). Keep in mind this does not mark the completion of the project. Along with that obvious ongoing work at the U-turn-on Bonnet Island, lane changes in Ship Bottom have to be phased in. Both Central Avenue and the Boulevard (Between 7th and 9th streets) will become two-way, north and south.

A word of Causeway caution for this holiday weekend: At the east base of the Eastbound Causeway Bridge, the lanes get very tight, very quickly. Clueless lead-footed folks zipping over the bridge are hitting that tight spot while driving way too fast. Quite spooky.

I should know by tomorrow when the U-turn area will be done. That will allow those narrow lanes can be widened.  Can’t be soon enough. Also, that solid white lane line in the tight means stay in your lane – so stay there, please. No jockeying.

DOT Hosting Official Ceremony to Mark Reopening of Causeway on May 22

By GINA G. SCALA | May 21, 2019
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP — While federal, state and local officials gather for the Causeway rehabilitation and expansion ribbon cutting on May 22 marking the official reopening of the only entrance and exit road to Long Beach Island, there are few who will be happier about the ceremony than local residents and workers who have waited nearly six years for the project to get to this point.

The ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the west end of East Bay Avenue in Stafford Township. Guests include Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, state Department of Transportation commissioner; Robert Clark, federal highway administration division administrator; 9th District legislators Sen. Christopher J. Connors and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove; and Stafford Township Mayor Gregory Myhre.

Parking for the event is at the Ship Bottom municipal boat ramp, West 10th Street and Shore Avenue. Shuttle buses will provide transportation to and from the event site.

Work on the $312 million federally funded expansion and rehabilitation project began in 2013 and is expected to continue through 2021. The Causeway, a 3-mile stretch connecting the mainland, Stafford Township, to Long Beach Island, entails one big bridge to carry traffic west, or off the Island, and another bridge to flow eastward. The new bridge, south of the old one, is 2,400 feet long with a vertical clearance of 55 feet above Manahawkin Bay.

The final phase calls for the reconfiguration of the Causeway circle into a square in Ship Bottom. The Arlington Beach Club condo complex marks the area in question. The work zone is located along the western property line of the complex and Long Beach Boulevard, the main thoroughfare on LBI. —G.G.S.

Jean Deery Schaum My brother in law Steve Smith released this 38 inch beauty in Harvey Cedars today!
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Hi Jay,

Wanted to share our catch from Sunday.  We were having coffee on our deck on Muriel Dr. in Beach Haven West and we heard fish jumping like crazy, so my husband casted out.  First he got a small snapper blue, then he got this big one!  Dinner for 2 families in BHW!  We've been here 30 years and never saw one this big here before.


Capt. Alex <lhsportfishing@comcast.net>

The spring run is going at full throttle. If you have not been in on the world class action you are missing out BIG time!  Bass from schoolies to over 30” have been going on the feed during the right tide stage around the inlet and back bay.  The best thing about it is, often artificals like Bass Kandy Delights (BKDs) are effective.  Out front bass from 30 to 50 + have been falling to trolled spoons and Mojo’s.  Some boats are scoring well, while others draw a blank. Hey, that’s fishing.  Have not heard of any hot snag n drop action but the water may have to increase a degree or two for that action to materialize. Blues are reigning supreme from the back though the inlet and out front.  Nothing like seeing a 10 pound blues smash a popper in a few feet of water.  If that does make your heart skip a beat, I don’t know what will.  Attached is a picture of Amalie Werner of Manahawkin with a 9.1 lb. beast. Fluke fishing opens Friday.  Look for outgoing warmer water that is free of slime for the best early season action. This time of year I kick it old school with a three-way rig and killie north of Barnegat Inlet and a minnow south. LOL  The cold ocean water coming in on the flood will give most flatties lockjaw. I actually have some openings for this holiday weekend so give me a call to get in on one of the best overall springs runs in a few years.

 Screaming drags, 

Capt. Alex


Lighthouse Sportfishing.com

YouTube Fishing Barnegat Bay


Mix of sizes available. High volume moon tides have been challenging at times but still rewarding!!

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Endangered birds force buggy access closure on N.J. beach

Piping plover with chicks at Cape May, N.J. (Courtesy of Kevin Karlson)

Piping plover with chicks at Cape May, N.J. (Courtesy of Kevin Karlson)

New Jersey officials will soon temporarily prohibit beach buggy access in a portion of Island Beach State Park due to the presence of a nesting threatened and endangered shorebird.

Beginning May 26, officials will prohibit vehicle access at the Gillikin’s Mobile Sportfishing Vehicle entrance in the Northern Natural Area to protect piping plovers, according to a Department of Environmental Protection news release.

State officials said five miles of beach will remain open for beach buggies.

The closure is required under federal law. Unless otherwise posted, foot traffic is permitted, but no dogs will be allowed in the closed area north of the Gillikin’s entrance beginning May 24.

Protective fencing is around the nesting area — marked with warning signs and posts — to keep it safe from predators, such as seagulls and fox.

Due to the closure, the state park could reach capacity for beach buggies sooner than normal, requiring officials to temporarily halt access.

“We appreciate your cooperation in ensuring the next generation of New Jersey’s shorebirds has a safe and successful start on our beach,” the release said.

Piping plovers have nested in Island Beach State Park over recents summers, beginning in 2016. Before that, they were last spotted in the state park in 1989. Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey biologists speculate that Superstorm Sandy’s creation of more open habitat was probably responsible for the piping plover return to Island Beach State Park.

Over three-quarters of New Jersey’s piping plover population is found at Sandy Hook and the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, according to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey

New Jersey has seen a steady decline in the number of piping plovers nesting along the state’s 130 miles of beach. Last year, just 96 nesting pairs were counted along the length of the state, said John Heilferty, the acting chief of the Endangered and Non-Game Species Program under the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Of those, two nesting pairs were in the North Brigantine natural area. Both succeeded in chicks that survived long enough to fly away on their own.

State officials have acknowledged that red foxes have been trapped and killed to reduce their impact on endangered and threatened birds that nest on the beach, most notably the piping plover.

Bill Barlow contributed to this report. 


Jeff Wanamaker is feeling stoked.
It's not often that I get to go fishin with a group of great guys and especially on a trip like today's. It was a last-minute invite to go this afternoon and the cards were in my favor! An afternoon trip on the #hypersriper turned out to be epic. Everyone caught fish I ended up with my PB Striper from a boat ~ a 40.5 pound monster! There were 2 others caught at 35+ 

Awesome day on the water!
Thanks for the invite guys!

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Alaska’s Biggest Ever Commercial Seaweed Harvest is Happening Right Now

Copyright © 2019 Anchorage Daily News
By Michelle Theriault Boots
May 17, 2019

By the end of the week, kelp farmers will haul in up to 200,000 pounds of ribbon and sugar kelp from waters off Kodiak.

The biggest commercial seaweed harvest in Alaska history is unfolding this week in waters off Kodiak, one slick blade of sugar kelp at a time.

By the end of the two-week harvest, two Kodiak sea farmers expect to haul in a total of 150,000 to 200,000 pounds of kelp.

This year’s harvest is at least three times larger than last year’s, said Lexa Meyers, who co-owns Kodiak Kelp Co.

Subsistence seaweed harvests have been happening along Alaska’s coastline for millennia. But Alaska’s commercial seaweed industry is only a few years old, and growing fast.

Just five years ago there were no commercial seaweed farmers operating in Alaska.

The first applications for aquatic farms growing kelp were issued in 2016, said Cynthia Pring-Ham, the aquatic farming coordinator for the Commercial Fisheries Division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Today, 16 aquatic farming operations are permitted to culture species of seaweed in the state. Ten have permits to grow seaweed in addition to oysters and other shellfish, six to farm only seaweed, according to Pring-Ham.

It’s not just Kodiak.

Lia Heifetz is the co-owner of Barnacle Foods, a Juneau company that produces kelp salsas, pickles and other products.

In the past, her company has used wild harvested bull kelp.

But this year they’ve expanded enough to buy commercially farmed kelp from a growing operation at Humpy Island Oyster Company, near Ketchikan.

“(Our business) gave him the confidence to scale his harvest up,” Heifetz said. “No one has a desire to grow kelp and have nowhere to sell it. We’re at a scale now it made sense for him to make the jump and be confident we can buy it."

Barnacle plans to buy about 25,000 pounds of kelp when the harvest is ready.

“It’s a huge milestone,” she said.

Meyers of Kodiak and her husband, Alf Pryor, operate an 18-acre seaweed farm a short skiff ride from the harbor.

They grow two types of seaweed: sugar kelp, marketed in Asia as kombu, which grows in wide, flat bands up to 7 feet long. Ribbon kelp, marketed as wakame, is narrower and features a rib that runs the length of each blade.

They sell their harvest to Blue Evolution, a California-based company that has been on the forefront of the developing industry in Alaska.

Worldwide, seaweed is a $6 billion business, according to the World Aquaculture Society. But most seaweed is harvested in Korea, Japan and China, dried and used for seasoning.

In Maine, seaweed farmers have been producing kelp for food markets for years. But until recently, Alaska had been left out, said Blue Evolution founder Beau Perry.

Starting in 2014, the company worked with researchers at the University of Alaska Southeast to develop techniques for commercially farming kelp -- rather than harvesting wild kelp beds.

The technique involves collecting wild kelp plants and breeding them to produce tiny floating “seeds” that then attach themselves to “grow lines” of string farmers suspend in the ocean in late November, Meyers said.

Seaweed is harvested in late April and early May.

Blue Evolution sells “seed stock” to a handful of Alaska kelp farmers, including Nick Mangini and Alf Pryor on Kodiak, and then buys back the mature kelp.

The kelp is then processed at the Ocean Beauty seafood processing plant and sold as a blanched and frozen product.

So far, the main clientele has been food service at corporations, colleges and other cafeterias.

Alaska kelp can be eaten in a vegan broth at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and found in the cafeteria of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Amazon’s corporate catering menus.

It isn’t available in grocery stores yet, but the company plans to sell a small volume of a dried kelp product used for seasoning on its website within a few weeks, he said.

Perry says it tastes like umami, but without a heavy ocean flavor. Perry likes to use kelp in a wild rice bowl, or in a compound butter. Kelp has made its way into microbrews and sourdough bread.

Alaska is poised to become the center of the commercial seaweed industry on the U.S. West Coast, said Perry.

What would it take to grow Alaska’s seaweed industry?

“The development of a market. Right now there isn’t any one buyer who could take all the kelp, at this point,” Meyers said.

It would also take community acceptance. There’s been no voluble pushback to the still-small seaweed farming industry in Kodiak, Meyers said.

“A lot of people don’t understand kelp farming,” she said. “There’s been some concern over people getting bottom leases.”

Meyers believes a growing seaweed industry could be a boon to year-round fishing families that live in Kodiak and other Alaska communities. Seaweed farmers use much of the same gear and skills as setnetters.

And the seaweed harvest cycle takes place exactly when other big fisheries are at a lull, in late fall, winter and spring.

“There’s not a lot of opportunities for folks to gain income over the winter months," she said. “It’s been really nice to see something else creep up.”

US Kids Aren't Eating Enough Seafood, Study Says; Here's How to Add More

Copyright © 2019 Cable News Network
By Susan Scutti
May 20, 2019

The humble tuna sandwich, once a lunchbox staple, is making less frequent appearances in school cafeterias across the nation. American children are eating relatively little fish and shellfish in comparison to meat, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The report, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, explores both the health benefits and the risks associated with eating what once swam in the sea while informing parents of the safest, most sustainable choices for their children.
"Seafood consumption by children has declined every year since 2007 to levels not seen since the early 1980s," the report authors wrote. "Fish and shellfish are, in general, good sources of low-fat protein rich in several essential vitamins and minerals as well as, in certain instances, the essential nutrients omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids." Omega-3s are known to improve brain function, according to the report.
Other health benefits for children who include fish and seafood in their diets include the possibility of preventing some allergic reactions, such as asthma and eczema, and decreasing in cardiovascular disease risk.
However, risks include potential harmful effects on a child's developing nervous system after eating fish contaminated with methylmercury pollution. When mercury from burning coal and some types of mining settles into water, bacteria convert it into methylmercury, which can build up in fish.
Federal advisories on possible fish contamination may have "pushed people away from eating fish in general and canned tuna in particular," the authors theorize. Their recommendations steer parents toward aquatic fare that may be safely included in children's diets.
Safe Choice for Families
Each week, children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should eat one to two servings of a variety of fish from those listed among the "best" and "good" choices identified by the US Food and Drug Administration. Salmon, tuna, flounder, crawfish, sardines, cod and scallops are included in the "best" choices.
Freshwater fish eaters should check US Environmental Protection Agency advisories before making a meal of what they catch, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. Fish and shellfish captured in freshwater bodies may have high concentrations of pollutants. If a body of water goes unmonitored, families should not eat fish from it more than once a week.
Sustainability should also be factored into meal decisions, since some of the world's fishing grounds are over-harvested, the authors explained: Not quite a third of global fish stocks are overexploited, while 60% are harvested at or near their maximum sustainable yield. The most commonly consumed seafood in the United States -- shrimp -- usually comes from highly unsustainable overseas fisheries, according to the report.
Generally, US fisheries remain free of both environmentally damaging and child labor practices that occur in some regions of the world, according the academy. Buying American fish and seafood, whether farmed or fresh-caught, is often a sustainable choice, though this is not to say that other nations do not also have sustainable sources of fish and seafood.
Get 'Em While They're Young
Maria Palafox-Romeo, a registered dietician and postdoctoral fellow with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, said the new report is "very thorough."
"I think one of the main things to remember is that there's no one perfect food or one perfect diet. So the fact that this report is recommending more fish in children's diet does not mean that the experts want children to only consume fish," said Palafox-Romeo, who was not involved in the research report.
There's no need for special foods or special diets for most children, said Palafox-Romeo, who reminds parents that "by age 2, children should be eating the same foods as the adults in the household."
She also noted that fish has a very specific "taste profile," so children need to learn to like it "before it's too late." By age 5, children have established most of their eating habits and food preferences, so parents need to get them to try fish and seafood frequently before that age because it will be harder to get them to eat it when they're older.
Every fish and every seafood option has different levels of nutrients, so if you consume only one type of fish, you'll get only one nutrient profile.
"Buy different fish, try different fish, and rotate them; that's the healthiest way to eat them," she said, adding that when kids see their parents try a food, they themselves will at least be curious about it and want to try it. Model fish-eating behavior, said Palafox-Romeo, who has been researching the diets of children 5 and younger for the past eight years. Buy the fish you like to eat, prepare it in a way you like, and serve the same to your children.
More generally, she believes all of us should consider our planet's health as well as our own. "We need to start thinking about sustainable diets. And fish is a really good option," she said.

Great White Shark Tracked in Long Island Sound for First Time Ever, Research Group Says

Calling all Paddlers! We're recruiting volunteers for our annual Paddle for the Edge survey! We will train you to collect valuable data about the environmental condition of where the land meets the water… THE EDGE. Volunteers are assigned a section of shoreline to paddle on their own time, stopping periodically to record some basic information about the shoreline. Grab some friends and click below for more information and to sign up! www.barnegatbaypartnership.org/…/volun…/paddle-for-the-edge/

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Toby Lapinski
The first confirmed 50 of the year in RI waters that I am aware of so far. Now I am not sharing this to start a fight over c&r, so if you go that route in any way/shape/form I'm deleting your post. The reason for this share is to point out the fact that the somewhat accepted formula for striped bass weight (girth squared x length)/800 is flawed. I have rarely if ever seen it match up with a fish that hit a scale. The formula puts this fish at 64 pounds when in reality it weighed 52.25 pounds. Food for thought.
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Woozy Outdoor Adventures
Congrats to my friend Kenny from Ray’s Bait with a monster caught today in RI! The official measurements 50” length, 32” girth, and a weight of 52.25 lbs!!!
weight after trip! Yeah good!! 

Lonell Rodgers to Surfcasters Plug Bag.
19 hrs · 

A few for myself and some friends...

No photo description available.

Last week, I had hiked well into the outback, even by my deep-woods standards. I know from satellite images there are no houses in that zone for many a mile, with a camping area maybe two miles off. So, I was a tad surprised to first sense then see this obviously domestic feline hesitatingly approaching me … though maintaining a healthy distance. Obviously, it’s in fine condition, possibly just in the midst of a patented cat walkabout; roaming far afield -- thinking in terms of cats that go missing for days on end then nonchalantly arrive back home. It might also be a wayward pet, turned survivor, that lost track of its owners’ camp or camper. After this quick exchange of stares – and my snapping a couple pics -- we lost interest in each other, both going our separate ways. It was a little weird. I should note that over the years I’ve found three dogs in the deep wild. But, they all looked the part of being long lost -- and begging discovery by humans. All were rescued.

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