Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, November 15, 2016: It was a roughish ocean day out there but many a boat basser was lovin’ the rockin’ ...

Smoking e-cigarettes may be hazardous to your, uh, ass. 

Below: Wouldn't it have been easier just to move to Canada? 



Tuesday, November 15, 2016: It was a roughish ocean day out there but many a boat basser was lovin’ the rockin’ life while targeting rockfish.

That’s an insider chuckle, after I caught a speck of heat after joshing around with the term “rockfish” in my last weekly blog. Hell, I joked just as much about our local terms for bass, like “cows,” “rats” and “linesiders.”

There’s not much to joke around about in the surf … which has become a joke in its own right. I’m even starting to get overly irked over ongoing reports of fine stripering from sands across Barnegat Inlet.

However, I did have a few reports of bass and blue activity on our side of that watery divide. I as asked not to go big on it by one person but afterwards had similar reports from other sources unconcerned about keeping the local all private-like.

What I’m seeing on the Classic front today is a nice double dip by Dennis Stepien, who entered both a 20.24 bass, caught on bait, and a 15.18 blue, taken on plug. Both, north end.

I see no other weigh-ins, which reduces the chances of their being a big bite up that way. Of course, that means I must give it a go myself -- all fired up over the bluefish “plug” thing. I haven’t used steel leader in many moons. It's needed for blues and doesn't hurt popping for bass. 


Here's a big chunk of my weekly blog ...  I'm not letting this issue sit in limbo any longer. I'm right here ... and the huge majority of beach people agree. 

RIDING THE CHANGE?: If you’ll climb aboard my beach buggy, I’ll begin by merely driving the beaches, though I’ll end up running headlong into the largest of beachline issues, like the growingly desperate need for shore towns to show decency and common courtesy toward beachgoers – who are accessing sands and waters that are rightfully and legally theirs.

As we drive onto the buggy-friendly, hardpacked, federal-built ramps onto the beach, you might notice my “buggy permit.” It cost me $50. I’ll now interfere with your sightseeing by noting that I’m a stickler when it comes to having the proper beach buggy stickers. When driving onto a beach to park and utilize said beach, i.e. to stop and fish, or to offload the family for a day of fall fun, ya gotta pay to play.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, our scenic drive grinds to a halt. “Sorry, folks, I no longer have permission to proceed.”

“But, Jay, you have that-there permit,” someone offers, naively.

Follow me here: For me to drive all of LBI, from Loveladies to Holgate (no buggies allowed in Barnegat Light), would demand my buying five separate permits. Brutal!

“But, Jay, you wrote earlier that you agree with permits … ‘Pay to play’ is how you put  it.”

To quote myself more exactly, I agreed with needing a buggy permit when I’ll be stopping to fish or to offload the family for a day of fall fun. But do I really need to pay each town when just doing a Robert Crumb “just passin’ through” drive?

Yes, I’m choosing this backdoorish route to open an ugly can of LBI beach worms – loosing civil rights issues that extend far beyond just the beach buggying realm. These are big-ass worms.

As I turn my buggy around to avoid a no-permit violation, I need to hand out some New Jersey State Constitution paperwork. Within is the essence of what will very soon become a harrowing political-ish issue. It is written proof that the state constitution mandates that one cannot be denied – or charged for – accessing beaches to simply traverse them – or, in the case of buggying, to drive the beachline from shore to shining shore.

Now to the meat of the beachgoing matter – and please refrain from cheers, applause and catcalls until the conclusion of my, uh, controlled diatribe.

In a perfect constitution-abiding world, an individual cannot be prevented from reaching the beach and walking thereupon – to one’s heart’s content … even at the height of an insanely beach-badged summer. My friends in beachiness, you have what amounts to an unalienable right to walk the sands all the way from Barnegat Light to Holgate without a frickin’ badge – much less six of them, for each passed-through town.

Some of you already know of this seldom-ballyhooed freedom. Many a badgering town also knows of this right. Nonetheless, some coastal towns have routinely posted beach badge checkers at street ends … most of them too young to relate to even a joking “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges.” I hate to say it, but it borderlines on harassment for beachgoers only coming on for a walkabout.

That said, this footloose freedom does not apply when you hit the sand with plans to settle in to carry on activities common to having yourself a mighty fine day at the beach. Then, you’re legally bound to carry a badge.

Per the law of Trenton, there is an absolute need, and a compelling right, for a shore town to recoup the oft-insane costs of upkeeping a beach; upkeep includes daily cleanups, lifeguard and public safety services, sand grooming and a veritable avalanche of sundry summer expenses. If coastal towns had to absorb tourism-related expenses, it would lead to astronomical tax hikes for shore residents. In fact, such tax hikes would put towns out of business. Thus, Trenton has fully agreed that folks luxuriating on our beaches must make some remuneration to the towns tasked with cleaning up after them.

Which forces us to contend with the 800-billion-ton sand gorilla in the room.


It’s a meaty metaphor for our lavishly replenished dunes and beaches. They arrived compliments of a post-Sandy, federally funded rescue – utilizing tons of national tax dollars.

Am I implying the current beaches, by dollar default, are now owned by the feds? Of course not! But, yes.

... A BADGE FOR ALL: And now to the meat of this matter – something that has long been spoken of but could soon be coming to a head. As we speak, more and more muscular taxpayer groups are somewhat angrily pointing out that all American taxpayers paid for the current beaches, dunes – and, in the case of beach buggying, the mighty-fine ramps we use.

Without abandoning the need for shore towns to collect beach-usage revenue for maintenance expenses, something has got to give when it comes to badgering beach-users over badges. Yes, I’m referencing the need to pay for six ain’t-cheap beach badges to use all the beaches of LBI. That has long been wrong, is wrong now … and simply needs to be un-wronged, ASAP.

It’s high time to reexplore the pressing need to respect N.J.’s noble beach-access constitutional points, while allowing towns to cover costs – and duly crediting taxpayers for footing the monstrous bill to replace our beaches and dunes.

And please don’t play the card: “What about out-of-staters not paying taxes here?”

Virtually every grain of sand now seen on our beaches was paid for by the entire nation. In fact, for the post-Sandy mega-fix, the state didn’t put in one penny, short of its ongoing contributions to the federal budget via income tax revenues. Face it, our sands are now, technically and philosophically, America’s beachline.

I can confidently prophesize that there will soon be increasing legal scrutiny of municipalities seemingly sapping beach users by demanding the purchase of multiple badges to use a contiguous stretch of shoreline that is now clearly owned by all. It’s imperative that shore towns quickly develop a joint management system for the publicly- owned beachline. In our local case, it’s one badge for all of LBI. In something of a pro-active way, we would show a fundamental respect to all taxpayers who pitched in to save our Island sands.

With a one-Island/one-badge plan in place, we would be able to stand confidently during upcoming legal cases challenging beach-user fees. And those are coming. A single-badge strategy on the part of LBI could favorably sway the courts.

The blind adherence to the long-unfair concept of needing to pay every separate Island town a beach toll will end badly, mark my words. It could even lead to a loss of home rule, should the state be forced to implement its own changes. ...

Pro report: Today, 6:15 AM
Capt. Alex (lhsportfishing@comcast.net)

The recent cold nights dropped the bay to 49 but the ocean is still 54-56. It appears a new body of ocean bass has moved within striking distance. The bay channels, flats, and inlet remain solid with the bite going off when tide is right. There are even scattered schools of schoolie bass patrolling the west side of the bay. Saturday’s trip started off cold with air temps in the low 30s. We quickly warmed up with two bass falling to plugs and thought it would go off. It did not as far as the plug bite is concerned. The fishing was steady on live bait with several fish in the 28”-30” range. Here is a picture of Bob Froman with a 30” bass. Even circle hooks draw blood sometimes, but for the most part they work! I have Saturday available if you want to book a trip and get in on the action when the bass fishing is about to peak.

On the nature side of things: once again there have been numerous big whales feeding on the bunker alongside of the stripers. Years ago we did not see this and now it is an every fall occurrence. I credit conservation efforts for these natural history events. In 1972 Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act which prohibited the killing of whales with in the USA’s waters. Our waters extend to 200 miles offshore. In addition, in 1986 the International Whaling Convention banned all commercial whaling worldwide. That’s good for the whales but what about their food? During the last decade or so we have been managing the stocks of Atlantic Menhaden (bunker). New Jersey does not allow bunker reduction boats within the state line (3 miles) which along with other State’s regulations has improved the bunker stocks, forage for the whales. And North Atlantic whales like bunker. Give Mother Nature a little time and there you have it, whales off NJ every fall.
Screaming drags, 
Capt. Alex
Barnegat Bay, NJ
You Tube Channel: Fishing Barnegat Bay


Hit the water today with an all PA Crew. The Weather was a bit uncooperative, but we managed to put together a nice catch of fish on plugs and spots. You see what we brought home for the table, we released another 6 or 8 fish.


While not that far away ...

It seems every fall this little CCW plug finds some fish for me from out of nowhere.


Took bossman out today and crushed em! 

Avi Mandel 
day it was on fire. Every cast for 1-1/2 hours straight was a 15lb + Blue. They were super aggressive. Yet the day got much better. The Adult Bunker then got pushed in close and that is when all hell broke loose. Every bass was at least 30lbs. My biggest was between 46-47" and had a 27" girth. Welcome to the 40 club!! An epic 3 hour bite which I had all to myself.... Words can't describe that feeling.


Artie Raslich
Humpback Whale #NYC0053 feeding on Bunker fish off the shore of Long Beach NY. November 05th 2016. BTW…Those two Bunker's did not get away. It looks like I was very close to the Humpback while it was feeding, I was not. I always give the Humpbacks their space, I personally do not like being close, I do not want to get in their way of travel or feeding. If they come to me I shut the boat off and turn the music up so they know where I am. Some say to bang on the side on the boat, I do not do that. First maybe they like the music, second I do not want to scare or make it unpleasant for them. I don't stay with them too long (hard to do). When I do leave the area its always after the whale has just taken air or blown, so I can verify the direction of travel, this way I can idle away in the other direction. I never hit the gas until I see the whale take another breath then I know 100% that whale is safely on its way, if not I adjust my exit. — in City of Long Beach, New York (OFFICIAL).

Love the old school eyes on these bottles, getting ready for show season

Home & garden shop, small town of Buttevant in Cork County.

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Comment by Zippy on November 16, 2016 at 8:03am

IMO......much of the beach badge issue is to quietly keep the undesirables off the beach....whom ever they may be.....amongst other costs.


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