Tuesday, November 18, 2008: Waves: 3-5 feet (wind waves).
The wind didn’t put up the fuss we thought it might but the air temps aren’t going to be denied a plunge into quick-freeze land. At sunset it’s already nearing 32. While we likely won’t be seeing that wintry sight of ice coating the cyclone fences next to bayside bulkheads. For certain, there will be a lot more buggy sitting and hot coffee sipping by surfcasters. That wind-chill aversion will last not only the next few days but right into the coming weekend. This mercury dip will in no way hurt fishing – and the last week of the LBI classic. In fact, there are obvious sings that the stripering could flare enough to heat the beachline.
HIDE YOUR DINGY: I got an arrest report from the Harvey Cedars PD. It has a significant outdoors angle.
That borough’s finest responded to a call from a gal who watched in disbelief as a couple guys in a black pickup truck with a flatbed trailer grabbed her 8-foot fiberglass rowboat, loaded it on the trailer and drove off.
Figuring the thieves had bolted toward the Causeway, the HCPD alerted other Island PDs to be on the lookout.
Then, lo and what the hell, they came across the suspect truck only about 10 blocks from where the boat was nabbed. The two men were found scrapping – looking for metal to sell (despite the prices having taken a nosedive in recent weeks. )
Nathan Steins, 26, of Waretown and Michael Hanneman, 27, of Bayville were arrested. LBTPD helped with the arrest.
The boat was returned to the owner. The men will plead their cases in an upcoming court appearance.
I’m totally guessing at this but I’ll bet the two found the boat and figured it was abandoned. That doesn’t fly any more than finding a horse in a field out west allows you to ride off with it. Still, the fact the two calmly carried on with their “junking,” (a respectable term given to folks grabbing goods left streetside) indicates they likely didn’t have overt larceny on their minds. Well, I’m thinkin’ a judge might see it differently.
I bring this up for the “scrap” angle. I know a lot of you have aluminum boats, often used this time of year for hunting runs. Where we once could leave such vessels in the water for weeks, with little more than a plastic Clorox bottle and a cinderblock as mooring, this rush for metals makes that way risky. In fact, I’d even move “recyclable” dinghies from easily accessible side yards all the way out back – and under a tarp.
True story: An Islander homeowner (I think it was last year) pulled up to his oceanfront home to find his aluminum boat gone. Miffed but not ready to call the police about the theft, he went into to shower off for a relaxing off-season evening before an LBI fireplace. You guessed it: No water. They had taken his copper pipes, too.
Good thing lead futures aren’t going sky high in the scrap metal market, we’d all have to put locks on our tackle boxes. Hey, come to think of it, the average plug is worth about $50 a pound.
KAYAK QUESTION: “Is the fall a good time to kayak fish the ocean? I’m new to it but have practiced paddling on a lot on lakes.”
This is my favorite kayaking time, fish-wise, but anemometer watching is of monumental importance. The wind can be a session wrecker.
There is a kayak-appropriate saying: Don’t blow out further than you can paddle back.
I am/was a power kayak paddler and have, on numerous autumnal occasions, found myself up against westerly gales intent on showing me what’s biting in Europe.
(By the by, if you blow clear across the ocean in a perfect latitudinal line with LBI you’ll end up in Portugal? Wherever that it.)
I have tons of experience in paddling back to the beach in the face of moody west winds, which can lay down like a resting little lamb then suddenly jump up and attack like a really pissed off lamb.
Years back, I began a Pinelands-based kayak club called the “Upstreamers.” We explored just about every creek and watery crevice the Jersey Outback had to offer.
The group came about when I got tired of having to off-load kayaks for a put-in at the starting point on a creek while making sure there was another vehicle at the pull-out point to drive paddlers back to the put-in point to get the parked transport vehicles to drive back down to the pull-out point to load the kayaks. Forget a step and you could find yourself slogging aimlessly through a cranberry bog with the sun setting and once-nonsensical tales of the Jersey Devil scratching at the back entrance to your imagination.
Then a perfect solution hit me in bed late one night – while contemplating shooting paintballs at a mosquito buzzing around in the darkness. All that energy-sapping vehicle jockeying common to kayaking could be easily cured by putting simply in at virtually any point along a creek then paddling for all you were worth against the current, i.e. upstream. You could go as far up stream as endurance would allow, then simply turn around and casually cruise with the current, back to the put-in point.
I still think the concept was a good one. Unfortunately, the energy output was a tad demanding. I quickly became the club’s only member. Then, in a bitter argument with myself over when to turn around on a particularly tough creek, I stormed off and haven’t gone back since.
I did take with me all that endurance gleaned from upstreaming. I put it to proper use when fishing the nearshore ocean during wild west winds. I actually dug being pushed to the limits. Not everyone is of the same mindset – possibly you included. If you decide to put-in amid hard winds, you might want to bring along a cellphone with the Coast Guard’s emergency number punched in. Also, keep a wary eye on your blowout rate. Make a couple corrective paddle ins, just to get a read on your recovery rate. Should you not be able to make the return journey, I’d keep a decent anchor onboard. It can hold you in place while calls are made.
Sidebar: The furthest out I’ve been taken was not by the wind but by a massive shark of unknown variety. I had been happily drifting along, dragging a large chunk of bunker on the bottom, when I hooked and undertook a battle with a huge brute of a shark. I was fishing wire leader. By the time I gave the shore a look-back, I seemed to be the shipping lanes. I was forced to early-release the fish when the sun got low and light winds began to take a solid westerly persuasion. Out in no-kayers land, I fired myself up on a rush of can-I-make-it adrenaline, slouched low atop the kayak (to lessen wind resistance) and had one of my personal best power paddles back to land, without missing a stroke. It was dark as I hit the shorebreak and got a sideways dump onto the sand. Quite cool.