SHITTY REPORT FROM THE NORTH END: The High Bar Harbor Dike area is being hideously shat upon. There are random piles of poop at every turn, though most common near the entry point and over on the east-facing beachline.
Based on size differentials, its more than one canine crapping its ass off. That most likely means multiple pet owners are failing to take fecal matters into their own hands. It gives a bad name to all dog poop.
Not only is it fully unlawful to not bag Fido’s offings but there is currently an added emphasis on cleanup regs in that area after the Barnegat Light’s bayside swimming beach was closed on multiple occasions this past summer when bacteria counts got unacceptably high due to, yep, uncollected dog feces. I’m not saying the same summertime scofflaws have moved to The Dike, but the runoff aftereffects of the High Bar laziness can just as easily bacterially impact the water quality of nearby Myers Hole, where we wade and fish.
If anyone from that area frequents this column, please let me know if you have any insights into the violators. They seem to be repeatedly allowing their pet’s plops to remain in-place. This crap must be stopped. Be advised: If need be, I’ll place trail cams thereabouts.
By the by, don’t try to give me some crap that it’s the foxes and coyotes behind the dirty droppings. I know my animal crap. Yes, I just said that. As a fanatic self-taught tracker, I know scat out the kazoo. In fact, any tracker worth a hoot knows that reading scat is almost as vital as identifying the animal tracks themselves. The crap in High Bar reflects is the outcome from well-fed household pets. None of the piles have rodent hair, fish scales, insect parts, feathers or bones, which are always found within the scat of wild canines.
I see some of you hit the brakes when you read “coyotes.” Yep, at least one has made its way over here, per a couple LBI backyard cameras. And it’s a good-sized example. We have foxes galore.
Do foxes and coytoes ever, let’s say, intermingle? Here’s a spot-on answer by Michael Rosenthal, who works with Gotham Coyote Project. “Foxes and coyotes are both in the family Canidae, but coyotes are within genus Canis within the Canini 'tribe', while foxes are within the paraphyletic/imperfect Vulipini, and all in different genera from coyotes. In North America the foxes that overlap most with coyotes are red, swift, kit, and Arctic foxes (genus Vulpes) and gray fox (genus Urocyon). None of these can breed with coyotes, which also have a different chromosome number.”
Even with the fox-ote high breeding impossibility proven, it does not mean a male coyote won’t buddy-up with a vixen. It’s simply an infertile relationship. Gene-crossed lovers, as it were.
Tuesday, October 22, 2019: Talk about a die-off of surfcasting activity. Today I came across one lone angler in Surf City. He was set up nicely, despite the fierce north-to-south current. His baited lines – and loads of lead – had settled into what is a very well-marked deep-water trough running parallel to the beach. I recently brought up the bass-appealing sluices now showing along much of LBI. However, the beach response after cyclone Melissa has led to even deeper slews, well within even short casts. With bass seemingly inching our way out of the north, this arriving stint of highly fishable winds and weather should really offer stripers. Hope shines eternal – hopefully not infernal.
HOLGATE HAPPENINGS: With post-nor’easter sand moving in, the skinny points down around 8,000 feet have actually fattened up significantly. You still can’t mess with a couple of those eroded area at high tide.
At the Rip, you can literally see at least 50 feet of sand that has added itself onto the continuing accretion of sand fronting Little Egg Inlet. lengthening the Island, which I now put at 20.75 miles. The just arrived sand might eventually become part of the far end's rapidly accruing uplands, presenting as dunes, which attract grasses and maybe even shrubbery. If only the rest of Holgate could be so accretion inclined.
Caution: The beachline going around to the back cut (west peninsula) has been seriously cut away, greatly reducing when you can safely/dryly get to the Nursery – where I had great bassing last trip down there. I’m not sure where the west-facing beachline there is going. The dune adjacent to it are now ten-foot high cutoffs. What's more, they seem to be in the erosion mode. That could become growingly problematic for driving back there, especially as fall/winter west winds begin honking. I don’t mind parking south of the erosion zone, then walking in, though it can get a bit tedious walking back to the clamming mud flats – though I just backpack in to clam, filling my pack as I gather.
As to clamming at the mud nearest the parking area at the back cut … it sucks. Those low tide flats have been just about denuded of clams -- clammed out by folks unable or unwilling to go further north, toward where we used to clam like crazy when you could drive back there. The tenaciously growing grasses – and expanding uplands thereabouts -- have overtaken any former drive-through points, never again to give way. It’s hike in or go clam hungry.
Weirdly, softshell clamming has disappeared there seemingly due to the intruding grasses and, possibly, the insane population of fiddler crabs. Fiddlers bury down to where the softies live. That could mess up the delicate balance between the clams and how much water they need. Too much inflow could be a killer. Also, clamming for softies entails reading their surface “Keyholes.” With all non-grassed-over areas now showing thousands of fiddler holes, it’s tough to even see the more subtle softshell holes. I’m told there was some exceptional softshell clamming over on the Not Tucker’s Island, north of the back cut. But even there I see where the grasses have taken deep-rooted hold.
(Below) This shows the grasses next to the clamming flats. They're not soon giving way to any buggy. I don't mind that.
BLACKFISH AND BEYOND: I see where a massive 19.6 blackfish was taken off Rhode Island. I have to think – in the most hopeful of ways – such major tog will become more common thanks to very restrictive harvesting regs, something many of us felt came too late to have a quick impact on these slow-growing structure fish. Here’s hoping we were wrong – in a big tog way.
Winter is the prime time for blackies, marked by a five-fish bag from Nov. 16 to the end of the year. Considering the time of year, it usually takes a vessel of decent backbone to get out and stay stable over blackfishing areas. Still makes for great off-season fishing fun.
As to tautog being a “recovering” fishery, per studies, there is scant evidence that the fishery is rebounding at the hoped-for rate. I relate the slow-go recovery to the perils faced by young-of-year tog trying to migrate out of Barnegat Bay. Those future full-grown blackies can’t get past a bottom paved with absurdly ravenous fluke. But speaking so much as a disparaging word about fluke, the most beloved of meat fish, is tantamount to sacrilege. Same speak-not-badly rule applies to stripers. So I shan’t speak gravely of these two wrecking ball species being protective allowed to run amuck in a delicate ecosystem.
Back to blackfish, one of the endearing aspects of any significant harvesting cutback is usually the appearance of high-end fish, meaning trophy fish. In fact, a challenge will likely soon be made on the world record tog (below), a 28-8 mega-tautog caught by Kenneth Westerfeld, weighed in at Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland. A bit of a port name irony, the Maryland 28-8 crushed the existing record of 20-0 pounds, taken in 1998 by Anthony Monica out of Ocean City … New Jersey.
Here comes more delicious black fish baby!!!!
BIG IS ALWAYS A BIG THING: Keeping prize-fish is what fishermen have been doing since time immemorial. Nonetheless, an era of criticizing the keeping of major hookups is heavily upon the modern angling community. Overlooked is the highly noteworthy way nowadays fishermen are abiding by sometimes Draconian regulations, which heavily restrict keeperage. Their ongoing conservation actions save untold numbers of fish, if not entire species. Being able to keep an occasional scale-straining catch is a trade-off that the ocean ecology can live with, sustainability-wise.
At the same time, when a fish species tends to lose its table appeal once grown to wow-worthy size, a photo suffices as living proof of a catcher’s prowess. A careful release rounds out that prowess. I have bluefish and stripers in mind when thinking in terms of bigger models becoming dang near unpalatable. Supersized bluefish lead the way in low edibility, as much for health reasons as taste. The old saying about eating big striped bass: You cook them on a cedar plank, then throw away the fish and eat the plank.
All this submitted, I stand firm with my doctrine that bass taken in tourneys constitute ridiculously few fish when compared to those needlessly taken merely to show the boys back at the docks. In fact, overall, contest fish are a minuscule take by comparison.
In my less-than-illustrious fishing career, I’ve still managed to catch-and-release what could well be 1,000 striped bass. That’s over many decades, mind you; and I count all sizes, even laughably tiny. Only on the rarest of occasions have I kept an eater-sized bass, despite the table excellence of stripers of around 28 inches – or smaller, when legal. I bring up that stellar catch-and-release history to pre-qualify myself – and, by extension, slews of other C&R anglers – when keeping a better bass to enter into the likes of the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic.
For every bass I kill, I release 99. And please don’t try feeding me that utterly nonsensical line that half all caught-and-released bass die. Take it from me, a solid 90 percent swim off no worse for wear? As to gut-hooked fish, if there is any chance of using them for foodstuff – and they’re of legal size – keep them, utilize them. I’ll piss off some folks by adding that gut-hooked fish can even be used for pet food … in just that one instance, though!
Fall fishing has arrived in the Beach Haven area with its varied weather patterns keeping the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association on their toes. At this point there is red-hot bottom fishing action in the ocean with promises of good striped bass action on the horizon.
Max Goldman, a BHCFA mate, had an exciting three-day stretch of fishing last weekend. On Friday he took his boat out with a few friends searching for stripers. He caught a few shorts along with some knockdowns on the troll, but no keepers. Then on Saturday he mated for Captain Carl Sheppard on the “Star Fish” on a trip celebrating a birthday. Fishing inshore structure, the group of anglers caught over 130 fish including sea bass, bluefish, porgies, and false albacore. At the end, 11 sea bass and 17 bluefish went home for dinner. On Sunday he fished with friends at the Lemke’s on a shark fishing trip for mako. After an hour of chumming they hooked up with a large thresher shark which weighed in at 341-pounds.
Captain Alex Majewski of “Light House Sportfishing” reports that despite the poor recent weather he has been able to catch some “schoolie” stripers. With the presence of the smaller bass, and the bait abundance, Captain Alex feels this will be a good year for stripers. He is fishing around Barnegat Inlet, catching good numbers from 20-30 inches. Artificials work for him at times as well as live bait such as spots. One morning trip produced 10 fish to 28-inches.
Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction’ fishing had Eli Sachs, Kevin DeAngelo, and Ryan Kore of Philadelphia out for some striped bass. They worked several areas to release close to 10 bass on live bait and bucktails while keeping two for the table. A third keeper was lost at the boat due to the strong current.
Speaking of striped bass, the entire Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association is gearing up for the annual Sea Shell Club’s Striped Bass Derby. In addition to food and fishing, there are some great prizes. The event features three days of fishing, fun, food, and some great prizes. There are a couple of cocktail parties and gala fish fry that go along with the event.
This year’s event has special meaning for the BHCFA. Sea Shell owner Tom Hughes and his executive committee have designated the Junior Mates of the BHCFA as the recipients of this year’s proceeds. The money will go into the fund to help restore the artificial reefs in the Beach Haven area.
The event takes place this weekend, October 25-27. Complete information on the tournament including rules and signup information can be downloaded at the Sea Shell’s website at https://theseashellresort.com/striped-bass-derby Captains are always welcome to sign up at the captain’s meeting on Friday night at the Sea Shell. Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.org
FLORIDA FISHERMAN LOST AT SEA FOR 14 DAYS CLAIMS HE WAS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED BY MERMAIDS
A fisherman lost at sea for 14 days off the coast of Florida has been rescued by the United States Coast Guard this week.
Alvin McCallister, 72, was found on a small rocky islet 200 miles off the nearest coastline where he shipwrecked two weeks ago and managed to survive off of several seagulls, mussels, and urchins.
McCallister, for whom doctors do not fear for his life, was found suffering from intense hallucinations possibly caused by dehydration and the toxins of unidentified mussels he consumed on the small islet.
“The patient shows symptoms of extreme dehydration and is still under medical attention at the moment as he is still suffering from mild hallucinations,” a St-John Baptist Hospital spokesman told reporters.
McCallister who is presently suffering from mild hallucinations, told his brother, Timothy McCallister, that he survived with the help of mermaids who fed him but also allegedly took advantage of him sexually.
“He described in graphic detail how he was forced to perform oral sex on the fish-like genitals of these aquatic creatures, not only onto the women but also onto the men,” McCallister’s brother added in tears, visibly grateful to find his brother alive.
McCallister, who is believed to have ingurgitated some form of toxin such as lead or mercury found in dangerous quantities in certain varieties of mussels he possibly consumed, is still under psychiatric evaluation.
“Although Mr. McCallister does present abnormal injuries and inflammation to the genital and anal area, it is highly unlikely that he was sexually exploited or sodomized by living sea creatures and these are possibly self-inflicted” explained one medical expert.
Although McCallister’s mental state is presently unstable, doctors believe he should heal completely in the weeks to come after his body has expurgated the dangerous levels of toxins he has been exposed to.
Fonzo Rouse to Betty and Nicks Bait and Tackle Fishing Club
Fish are up North . Monmouth beach , 2 miles off beach trolling bunker spoon and umbrella rigs yesterday .There coming south! Just a matter of time.
On the nature side of things: Something I do almost on a daily basis I participate in “citizen science”. Citizen science is powered by individuals, communities/organizations, or global science research conducted by citizens. In my one attached picture, you will see an American Littoral Society (ALS) spaghetti tag behind the dorsal fin of one of the striped bass I tagged an released on Saturday. This is one of the examples of citizen science I am involved in and have been for over 40 years now! I have to purchase the tags myself, funded by you when you take a trip with me. Two recent returned fish came within 10 miles of where they were tagged and were recaptured within three months of being rereleased. You see, catch and release works when you handle your fish with care. There are so many ways you can get involved, just do it. OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now. LOL
Well, the recent weather pattern has been less than favorable most days for fishing, however, fish like most migratory organisms use internal and external cues and may move regardless of the weather. Case in point, stripers the past week. The northern NJ coast saw an influx of great numbers of quality fish in the 20-40 pound plus fish. I can tell you this, we have the bait so once those fish slide our well fishing will be nothing but world-class. Locally, the inlet and back bay are providing ample opportunities on bass from 20” to 30” or more. Artificials are working at times, but live bait such as spots are not failing to produce. Saturday morning’s trip produced 10 bass to 28”.
Newly tagged great white shark ‘Shaw’ cruises near N.J.
The great white shark Shaw gets tagged off Nova Scotia on Oct. 1. (Courtesy of OCEARCH)
Years after Mary Lee appeared, and following the brief blip of Miss May in July, there’s a new great white shark to track.
His name is Shaw, and he was tagged by OCEARCH, a marine research organization, off Nova Scotia on Oct. 1. OCEARCH recently concluded a white shark research expedition in that area. Scientists tagged, examined and collected biological samples from 11 white sharks.
“This data will contribute toward our understanding of the biology and physiology of white sharks in the Northwest Atlantic,” said Dr. Lisa Hoopes, director of research, conservation, and nutrition at Georgia Aquarium. Hoopes was also Expedition Nova Scotia’s chief scientist for the second half of the trip.
Shaw is named after Mike Shaw, a fish curator at SeaWorld San Diego for over 40 years and the initiator of white shark research at SeaWorld.
Tracked via GIS, the 10-foot, 3-inch 564-pound sub-adult male shark pinged around 50 miles off Long Beach Island on Monday. Its current location is unknown.
Since being tagged early this month, Shaw has cruised southwestward, passing well offshore from New England before nearing the coast near New Jersey.
Shaw is the latest tracked great white shark near New Jersey, beginning with the 16-foot, 3,456-pound Mary Lee, who first pinged off New Jersey in 2015. Her signal was lost in 2017.
Federal Fishing Expansion Could Endanger Right Whales
Reprinted with permission from DCReport
Donald Trump likes scallops, ordering the seafood for Chris Christie even though the former governor of New Jersey is allergic to them, but a new fishing map that benefits scallop fishermen could push the endangered North American right whale into extinction.
Trump regulators opened about 3,100 square miles of ocean to fishing for scallops and fish that live near the bottom of the ocean such as halibut and flounder that had been closed for more than two decades, including a section of Georges Bank off Cape Cod, Mass., and part of the ocean near southern New England.
Environmentalists say the National Marine Fisheries Service, overseen by Chris Oliver, failed to follow the Endangered Species Act to protect right whales despite published research from its own scientists that showed the move could harm right whales.
“The officials charged with protecting this species appear willing to misrepresent the facts and the science to both the court and the public because they’re hellbent on doing nothing that might save right whales from extinction,” said Erica Fuller, an attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation which sued over the fishing map.
A nonprofit that supports government whistleblowers, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, has asked the Commerce Department to investigate alleged lies or misrepresentations made by NMFS officials in the lawsuit.
The right whale got its name because it was the “right” whale to hunt because it is slow moving and floats after being killed. About 400 right whales, including 95 breeding females, migrate between Florida and Canada. The population has declined by about 20 percent since 2010.
Ten right whales have been found dead this year, including a male nicknamed “Snake Eyes” that was last seen entangled in fishing gear in August in Canadian waters. Deaths from entanglement or being struck by ships are common.
A scallop fishing industry group, Fisheries Survival Fund, said no scallop vessel has ever had an interaction with a right whale. The fund, which spent $290,000 on federal lobbying in 2018, helped develop the new fishing map.
Scallop fishermen harvested 58.2 million pounds of scallops last year, the fifth-highest since 1945. The fund claims changing the fishing map to protect right whales could cost scallop fishermen $140 million to $160 million a year.
A draft environmental review of the new map done during the Obama administration said it could increase whale entanglement, but this language was not in the final environmental impact statement issued under Trump.
Trump regulators also ignored published research by their own scientists including a 2017 paper co-authored by Allison Glass Henry and Peter Corkeron that said most entangled right whales die within six months to a year if they are not freed and a 2017 paper co-authored by Frederick Wenzel that said right whales can be trapped in gillnets.
Trump regulators apparently chose to rely on a paper co-authored by Rosalind Rolland that relied on outdated research and concluded entanglement in fishing gear has not caused a decline in the health of large whales, according to PEER.
Elizabeth Bick Zimmermann to Jersey pine barrens ·
One of the niftiest fish we have in the pine barrens is the Pirate Perch (Aphredoderus sayanus). Small, nothing fancy, seldom seen, the pirate perch is the only specie in it's family! It's closest relatives are cavefish. Until recently, no one even knew exactly how these fish reproduced...and this is where the story gets weird! While it's a juvenile, the 'vent' or urogenital pore is located down near the anal fin...but when this fish becomes an adult, the pore begins to migrate all the way up to just below the throat! It's all part of the reproductive strategy: sperm or eggs are released from the pore, swept into the gill cavity, and blown forcefully out of the mouth into the substrate where the eggs are fertilized. Amazing stuff! And we've so much more to learn!
(Time to abandon the Oregon coastline)
Magnitude 4.6 earthquake off Oregon coast marks fifth this month
(U.S. Geological Survey)
A magnitude-4.6 earthquake Monday morning became the fifth to strike off the Oregon coast since the beginning of the month.
The quake rumbled around 6:47 a.m. about 120 miles west of Bandon and at a depth of roughly 6 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
On Thursday, a magnitude-4.7 temblor struck about 95 miles from Port Orford — just hours after students in Coos and Curry counties participated in an annual earthquake drill.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports that three other earthquakes — all below a magnitude-4.0 — have occurred off the southern Oregon coast since Oct. 1.
So proud of my friend Don Henriquez for catching this pig yesterday 19.6 in Rhode Island
Flip-flop socks are here for people who refuse to admit summer is over
Now you can wear flip-flops year-round
We understand: As cold weather approaches, it can be tough to finally admit it's time to pack up your favorite pair of flip-flops for the season. But for those who just simply are not ready to give in, allow us to introduce you to flip-flop socks.
Now, if you think people who would wear these are out of their minds, consider the practical possibilities. Getting a pedicure? Throw on these open-toed socks to prevent your feet from freezing during the 10-foot walk to the car. Avid yogi? The open heel lets you master various poses without slipping or getting cold feet.
A friend told me there were some huge schools of bunker (Menhaden) off Old Inlet with a Humpback Whale on Saturday morning so I headed over to Bellport Beach with my drone to take a look. Conditions were perfect with light winds and a calm and clear ocean.
I couldn’t tell at the time but there were a few Striped Bass swimming inside the schools and occasionally chasing the fish out of the water. The first Striped Bass appears in the video above at the :48 second mark and there are two bass in the first photo below. The drone provides a fascinating perspective, from the ground you could barely make out the schools.