Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

(It is that humbling time of year when I hold the hat out for my one annual donation drive. I’m heading toward my 15th year and I promise there are a load of various expenses. Every donated penny goes to covering costs. I also want to assure that I absolutely do not EXPECT donations from anyone. Some folks have annually been kind – and I want them (and all) to realize that I’m thankful for past help but fully understand some years are better than others are.

Donations can be mailed to: Jay Mann, 222 18th Street, Ship Bottom, NJ, 08008-4418. Also, I can be PayPal-ed at jmann99@hotmail.com. )

Tuesday, October 11, 2011:


We’re in for micro-blow. A wind-heavy NE day (tomorrow) will quickly drain of rain by Thursday. Hard NE winds will do a quick 180, coming in lightly out of the south for a couple/few days. This is a stir that could help the bass cause – a seemingly lost cause of late. Those multiple well-marked bunkerballs that have been hanging near shore, will get rustled. Any bass hawking the balls will lose sight of the easy eats and possibly head beachward to bushwhack mullet and suck up crabs.

This is all good in theory but trumping that hypothesis is the disruptively warm ocean water (low 60s), likely becoming even milder with the NE winds. The follow-up south winds will be light and fully unable to knock sea temps down. I’ll needlessly point out that the date is already October 12, nearing mid-month. By this coming weekend, we could be back near record-breaking air temps. La Nina is becoming even a larger player than I had predicated.

The pelicans have become one of the major baitball indicators, diving just off the beach today. There’s no guessing what they were targeting but they were splashing down nonstop. I have to guess rainfish (too far out for mullet) or the first of the small bunkies – though I keep hearing that the peanuts are still loaded in the bay.

Bridge fishing has picked up.



BUGGY BANTER: It may not be overly apparent to many LBI buggyists but the sands of the Island’s 18 miles of front beach are simply super sound. Many chronically eroded Long Beach Township beach zones are as wide and sandy as they’ve been in years, despite a couple big storms and loads of large surf – not to mention king tides. It’s all thanks to a large-scale trickledown effect.

The massive beach fills in Surf City and Harvey Cedars are adding sand in such volume that it’s assuredly buttressing the beaches far to the south of the original replenishment points.

Via littoral drift, untold tons of pumped in sand are making the long wave/tide-driven crawl to the south. Buggyists are gaining ground all along the way.

Soon, the most northerly part of Brant Beach will have a sand add-on. That material will  meander south very quickly, joining the already a-move sand from Surf City’s spring re-replen.

And I’m ecstatic to be proven wrong. How so? During the 1994 formative phase of the proposed Long Beach Island Beach Replenishment Project, I often spoke to the Army Corps brass and suggested that anything short of contiguous replenishment effort (nonstop north to south -- or vice versa) would be futile. And the manner in which the first patchwork projects (Surf City, Harvey Cedars) were quickly eroded away seemed to prove my predictions. The protrusion method of sand dumping looked nonsensically ineffective, especially in the face of one of the most ocean-pounded pieces of East Coast shoreline.  However, I now see an unpredicted merit in stuttered sand fixes. It sure seems that the above-noted littoral drift trickle-down effect might very well be able to buttress ALL Island beaches south of Harvey Cedars. Remember, the feds are into the replenishment for the long run. They’ve already re-fixed Surf City. When Harvey Cedars sands begin to look anemic, back comes Uncle Sam’s boys. The sand just keeps coming – and building up beaches far from the drop points.

There is a big waveriding upside to this source sand drift-down replenishing of Island beaches. The wave breaks surfers feared losing will either quickly return to greatness or not be sanded under at all. Also, fishing jetties will pop their heads through the pumped sand in nothing flat. I hate to get trite but it’s sorta a win-win. And, yes, I’m forever inclined to call a beach half full instead of half eroded.




  The Indian Summer weather last weekend in Beach Haven resulted in some outstanding catches from the boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association. Leading the way was a monumental tuna trip by the “Miss Beach Haven.”

            Sailing with its maximum 12 anglers, Captain Frank Camarda guided the group to a limit catch of tuna. Counting the fish caught by crew members, a total of 42 fish ended up on the boat.

            The trip began with an unproductive troll before stopping and putting out some chum at nightfall. The action then began with fish biting well into the night. A significant bite started again at first light until the anglers were too tired to catch any more. Two more weekend offshore tuna trips are planned for October.

            Captain Fran Verdi turned his attentions on the “Drop Off” to deep water wrecks last weekend, and the move paid off. Making just two stops, he found great “drop and reel” fishing for over 75 nice sized fish. His party quickly limited out on blackfish and caught quite a few nice triggerfish.

            Captain Fran said they also reeled up quite a few keeper black sea bass in the 16-22 inch range. The sea bass had to be returned as the season is closed until November 1. He reports he is watching the water temperature for a drop to indicate the stripers will be arriving in numbers.

            Captain Carl Sheppard on the “Starfish” took the Stoops family out recently on a half day trip. After picking up some cocktail blues in the inlet on the way out, he bottom fished close to the beach for great action on undersized spike weakfish. He made a move to deeper water and found plenty of croakers plus some larger weakfish.

            The “Starfish” returned to port with enough fish to fill two shelves of the Stoops family freezer. Captain Carl added that he has heard of at least two reports of limited out catches on striped bass in the ocean under bunker pods.  

Additional information on the association can be found at www.BHCFA.com or by calling 877-524-2423.




New Bedford Standard Times] by Don Cuddy- October 11, 2011

The goal is to keep catching scallops — without harming the ocean's majestic sea turtles. And the solution, while it might seem simple, has taken years to test and refine.

Scallop dredges work the sea floor, where the slow-moving turtles often feed on crabs and scallops. And the equipment, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region of the Eastern seaboard, inadvertently snags the turtles.

In previous encounters with the scallop fleet, the turtles usually came off second best, says Ron Smolowitz of the nonprofit Coonamessett Farm Foundation in East Falmouth, which has led the research into the new gear with funding from the sea scallop industry and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Recent studies supported by satellite tracking have estimated that as many as 800,000 loggerheads live in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, according to CFF figures. Scientists estimate that more than 750 loggerheads were caught by scallop draggers in 2003, with more than half of them suffering injuries.

Smolowitz thinks those numbers will change dramatically as the traditional scallop dredge is supplanted by a newer turtle-friendly design. Its use will become mandatory for vessels operating at certain times of the year in areas where loggerhead turtles, in particular, are plentiful. This includes all waters west of 71 degrees West longitude.

The new gear, known as a turtle deflector dredge, has evolved over several years. Smolowitz said it has been proven effective after extensive testing.

"The cutting bar has now moved forward and looks like the cowcatcher on a locomotive," he said, describing the part of the dredge that contacts the sea floor. Smolowitz demonstrated the main features of the new design at New Bedford's Dockside Repair facility on Thursday prior to departing on a seven-day research cruise with Capt. Jeff Swain on the scalloper Monomoy.

The design was also tested using the carcasses of turtles that had died during strandings, These were placed in the path of the dredge, with the interaction filmed by divers.

"After towing the dredge, all the turtles went right up over it without any damage," Smolowitz said. "Using a standard scallop dredge, we actually crushed the turtles."

The New England Fishery Management Council last month voted to approve regulations mandating the new dredge for the scallop industry. That action will be reviewed by National Marine Fisheries Service and, if confirmed, the industry will have one year to conform to the new regulations.

This latest refinement follows a 2006 decision by NMFS requiring horizontal and vertical chains on scallop dredges, in order to prevent turtles from getting caught in the dredge when the gear was being hauled back through the water column.


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