Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, October 23, 2018: Fishing is ideal. That’s what I’m hearing … from Island Beach State Park.

Dog Day Afternoon ...

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Proof that dogs know when their barks are worse than their bites ...

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An elite corp of highly trained soldiers are landing ... on some totally different beach. 

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While the Clandestine Water Insertion Unit also had its own minor problems ...

Oh No! Oh No!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018: Fishing is ideal. That’s what I’m hearing … from Island Beach State Park. And we also have ideal days hereabouts, with the surf small and highly plugable. We’re just lacking something called fishedness.

That said, I still put in some after-work time yesterday, mid-Island. Birds were working everywhere, though well beyond casting range. No boats in sight. I did stop-and-pop plugging, going through every lure in what I see as my top-catching repertoire. That shelf is filled with lures I bank on, many of which are sorta standard mass-produced artificials. Nothing of great expense.

For me, top-shelfedness is achieved not made. I own some of the prettiest (and costliest) plugs made. But, pretty doesn’t always paint a pretty picture when fishing times are tough … like now. Thus, my turning to proven plugs, most of which are pure blue-collar, off-the-shelf recognized winners. Most famed is the bulkiest and, some might duly say ugliest, of plugs, the immortal Atom "Striper Swiper" Popper. It’s shaped like a cheap cigar … bitten off at the end. It often has some of cheesiest sparkles every made. Yet the blue-and-white model of Atom Popper is easily among the most respected fall lures known to man, or Mann. It is often placed on the stranded-on-a-deserted-island must-have list.

Lately, I’ve been going big on surface snakers, like (Heddon) Spooks. 

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This factory plug, i.e. highly mass produced, has a seeming lackluster look, pretty much a spent torpedo. Yet, it can catch with the finest-shaped plugs going. It sashays across the surface with just a light wrist action during bring-in. It can seductively sway to the point of making slow-stalking striper go gonzo. When really zipped, a Spook act like a splashy popper. It works as a work horse when I have to struggle to cop even a swirl. 

There are custom-made Spooks. Like this design from Keith ThomasBlack Talon PlugsNo automatic alt text available.

To get a deeper down read on beachline waters, I’ve lately been relying on another everyday lure ... of a pathetically boring shape, the Rat L Trap.

Admittedly, this deep-goer generally coaxes only smaller bass into striking. However, it’s what I call an indicator lure. It quickly shows that fish are afoot, with possible larger model bass in the mix. That info leads me to break out one of my favorite all-time commonplace presentations: a larger Red Fin, specifically one known as an “02 Redfin,” which perfectly matches the coloration of bunker. For whatever dumb-ass reason, that color was discontinued long ago. While they’re now rarer than striper teeth -- especially in longer sizes -- I fish them faithfully and functionally, while collectors assign them to display-case duties only.

A great stand-in Redfin hue is the “Smokey Joe” look, as seen here via BassBarn. 

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Enough on blue-collar lures ... for now, though I can't leave without showing my Number One catcher so far this fall ... 

Here’s a timely comment by David Welsh. I might add that this year I’ve been extracting some buggyists who know the ropes but weren’t prepared for the fine and sinky beach sand associated with replenishments.

“Jay - I think it's awesome you help out fellow buggiers….Hopefully after you pull them out you explain to them the importance of airing down. There's a lot of people tearing up the beach because they don't air down properly. Just because one's jacked up Rubicon with 35's can do it without airing down, doesn't mean it's right. It kills the entrance/exit ramps for us with meek little rides. I've been driving the LBI beaches for the last 3 years with a fake jeep (Compass) and it does fine as long as I air down to 15 psi. Yes, airing down takes a little bit of time but it not only helps the buggy, but other's buggies as well. Thanks.....Now go catch a Derby fish.”

Point of replen interest: The uniquely colored sand related to replenishment has swung around the south end of LBI and is now the main sand color at the famed back cut. What’s more, the arriving replen sand looks to be slowly filling in the channel over to Whatever Island, across from the cut. I’ve heard that island called Tucker’s, or even Not-Tucker’s, but that creates historic confusion in my mind.

Regardless of name, should that island connect with LBI proper, our south end fishing and clamming opportunities will greatly expand. Many of us recall when we could drive to the back mudflats to clam of Holgate. While back there, I’d take time to plug the protruding beachline points. The bassing could get wild. Being able to fish Whatever Island would allow access to this fine bassing grounds, from the other side. so to speak. A island-to-Island hookup would also greatly add to the growth of the far south end, making it bigger than ever.


Here's The SandPaper version of yesterday's JCAA rally call. 

The Jersey Coast Angler Association has issued a red “ALERT!” It is going balls out to fight/block a proposed opening of a portion of the EEZ (three miles to 230 statutory miles off the beach) to recreational fishing for striped bass. The contentious area is off Block Island. While the zone is small in a big-vista view, it’s that old opening the box theory worrying the JCAA.

"We fear that opening a portion of the EEZ to striper fishing could be the equivalent of opening Pandora's box. We understand that the current proposed rule would open the BITZ only to recreational fishermen. However, if that were to happen the next proposal might be to open it to commercial fishing as well. Further, we understand that this proposal is being considered because it is in a ‘unique area.’ Well, there are other ‘unique areas’ along the East Coast as well. … The next thing you know, there might be a proposal to open the EEZ in its entirety to striped bass fishing. We are adamantly opposed to that!”

I’ll second that emotion by admitting that I’d want the same, uh, EEZ courtesy for waters off Little Egg Inlet, which gets only a fraction of the near-in bassing perks of many other regions.  

This striper issue offers some in-house intrigue, as recreationalists oppose other recreationalists.

In the end – and not that anyone gives a rat’s patootie -- I’m fully on-board with this effort to maintain the current EEZ regs as they stand -- keeping it a striped bass conservation zone. While using the term "conservation zone" is generally forbidden in the angling realm, the EEZ-focused ban on striped bass harvesting is just that.

I’ll go provocatively afield even as I back the ban. Might allowing anglers to go further out -- beyond the state's three-mile waters -- reduce the intense near-in boat stripering done in NJ waters? Might removing pressure on Jersey bass allow more of the striped-ones to inch toward the surfline? Nah. It remains the lack of foodstuff within LBI shoreline areas that has fouled our surfcasting piece of the striped bass pie.



Wilbur Kuntzi
My 1st. trip to Holgate today. great weather and an easy run to the point. saw an interesting piece on the sand and had to get a pic. turned out to be a piece of foam with all kinds of growth on it.Tony C. and i caught up on whats happening on the island.I soaked a chunk and a head for around 3 hrs. and called it quits. will try again next week
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Jim Hutchinson Jr.

Looking for your very latest, greatest striped bass photos! So who's catching right now? Email me your most recent striper & details of the catch and perhaps we'll profile it in an upcoming print edition of The Fisherman Magazine (jhutchinson at thefisherman.com)


UPDATED 7:06 AM Conditions are prime. Kevin Deiter just landed a 33" RED DRUM on a swimming lure. RELEASED!!!

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Anyone have a recipe for Fresh Bonitos and Mackerel?

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The following is no surprise. It's how this non surprise can be parleyed into now putting more attention toward other conservation needy species. ...

Survey says Striped Bass Numbers in Maryland and Virginia Doing Just Fine

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Virginian-Pilot] by Tamara Dietrich - October 22, 2018

The data are in and the results are official: Juvenile striped bass numbers are healthy in the Chesapeake Bay and its major tributaries.

Virginia and Maryland say seine surveys conducted over the summer show young-of-year stripers - those spawned this past spring - top historic averages and signal good fishing for commercial and recreational anglers in a few years.

Mary Fabrizio, who heads Virginia's survey, said annual sampling has important economic and ecological value and helps in managing the species.

"By estimating the relative number of young-of-year striped bass, our survey provides an important measure of annual and long-term trends in the bay's striped bass population," Fabrizio said.

Fabrizio is with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point, which conducts the survey for the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. VMRC manages nearly all the state's fisheries.

David Blazer, director of Fishing and Boating Services at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, called their state's results "encouraging" for their efforts to protect and maintain the striped bass fishery.

"Consecutive years of healthy reproduction is a great sign for the future of this iconic species," Blazer said.

Virginia began monitoring striped bass in 1967, and Maryland in 1954. Researchers scoop up samples using 100-foot beach seine nets at designated sites, or index stations, several times throughout the summer.

VIMS samples the James, York and Rappahannock river watersheds, while the Maryland DNR samples the Choptank, Potomac and Nanticoke river watersheds and the Upper Chesapeake Bay.

This year, VIMS collected and measured 1,875 juveniles, logging a mean value or recruitment index of 10.72 fish per seine haul. This is greater than the historic average index of 7.7.

Maryland's DNR collected 1,951 juveniles, with an index of 14.8 - higher than the historic average of 11.8.

Striper abundance can ebb and flow dramatically from year to year depending on predation, fishing pressures, disease, weather and environmental factors.

The bay stock hit historic lows in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but when Virginia, Maryland and Delaware enacted fishing bans in the '80s, the population began to rebound. Today, it's considered recovered.

Striped bass are a top predator in the bay ecosystem and an important sport fish. They can live around 30 years, migrating in a vast range from the St. Lawrence River in Canada to the St. John's River in Florida.

Females mature around age 4 and males around age 2. Adults swim up coastal rivers to spawn, then their fertilized eggs drift downstream and hatch into larvae that rapidly grow into juveniles.

Juveniles stay in nursery sites such as the Chesapeake for up to four years to mature, then swim to the Atlantic Ocean to join the migration.

Photo Credit: Virginia Sea Grant/ Flickr


Nice little fish number 2 done!! One more to go! 414 round and 330 dressed

Nick Luna

Haven’t had fresh caught striper since one in the spring I’ve never fried it before but panko some seasoning and a little avocado oil has been incredible with fluke wil c how the striper fairs

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Shark Fins Found in Cargo of Hong Kong Freight Company, as NGO Urges Gov’t to Close Legal Loopholes

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Hong Kong Free Press] by Jennifer Creery - October 22, 2018

Shark fins have been found in the cargo of French freight company CMA CGM, despite their efforts to ban the product last year. In response to photos obtained by HKFP, the carrier said that the shipment was sent to a processing factory in Yuen Long by Tak On Marine Products. There was no indication that the shipment contained any shark-related commodity.

CMA CGM told HKFP that they are investigating the issue and are considering blacklisting Tak On Marine Products if they are proven to be associated with shark fin products.

A company representative told HKFP that the firm maintains a strict policy against the trade of shark-related products: “CMA CGM has issued clear instructions to our internal network and customers that our group has completely banned all forms of shark-related shipments since early 2017,” he said.

Traders are required by law to provide Hong Kong Harmonised System codes when declaring goods to customs, including “shark fins” and “marine fish.”

‘Better labelling laws’

CMA CGM added that tighter regulations are needed to restrict the shipment of shark fin to Hong Kong: “Ultimately, CMA [encourages the] government to take further measures and tighten the rules that help to stop any shark fin shipment into Hong Kong, including those that are CITES certified,” the representative told HKFP.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) provides a list of vulnerable shark species that includes the silky shark and thresher sharks.

Campaigner for WildAid Hong Kong, Alex Hofford, said that falsely declared goods are a problem when regulating shark-related products, enabling traders to label the goods under generic categories such as “seafood” or “dried marine goods”: “This is a problem that the government could easily fix. Left unfixed, similar such incidents, in which container shipping companies like CMA are clearly the victim, will occur with regularity,” he told HKFP.

“Better labelling laws would certainly help companies in the logistics sector implement their restrictive wildlife carriage policies.”

Hofford added that the carrier must remain vigilant for illicit traders: “Whilst we commend CMA for their January 2017 shark fin ban commitment, we also remind them to stay vigilant of tricks used by an unethical, unsustainable and often illegal global shark fin trade,” he told HKFP.

Maersk, the largest shipping line in the world, was the first in the world to implement a global ban on shark fin carriage in 2010. But the Danish company was found to be carrying two containers of shark fin from Oman to the Middle East last year by conservation NGO Sea Shepherd Global.

‘A global problem’

The shipment was spotted by a local resident last month, who alerted HKFP: “It has been happening for quite a while, but I didn’t notice that it was shark fin,” the reader, who did not wish to be identified, said. “They didn’t even cover it and they were not in a hurry. It is so disgusting to see this happen very obviously.”

“This is a global problem. Every one of us is responsible for this problem and we have to stop it.”

Shark fin remains a popular dish in Hong Kong, often served as a soup during large banquets. The city is one of the largest markets in the global shark fin trade. But demand for the threatened species has declined over the past 10 years. According to NGO WWF, imports have dropped by over 50 per cent from 10,210 tonnes in 2007 to 4,979 tonnes, due to a decrease in the amount of shark pin passing through the territory and the amount consumed.

Photo Credit: Nicholas Wang/ Flickr


Zero-Waste Stores Pop Up in the US, Targeting Shoppers Tired of All the Waste


SEAFOODNEWS.COM [CNBC] by Rene Brinkley - October 22, 2018

While a trip to the grocery store may conjure up images of colorful produce, grab-and-go meals and must-have packaged snacks, another image less likely to come to mind is tons of waste.

According to Refed, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting food waste in the United States, the retail food sector generates 8 million tons of food waste a year. Additionally, there is a great deal of packaging waste. Food is shipped in boxes. It sits on the grocery shelf often wrapped in plastic or cellophane. Consumers then carry the food home in plastic or paper bags.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that containers and packaging make up 23 percent of landfill waste, and plastic pollution is literally strangling the life out of the ocean.

Grocers are increasingly under pressure to reduce their waste footprint. Refed calculates the amount of food wasted by the retail sector represents $18.2 billion a year in lost value.

"In the past this was considered the cost of doing business when sales were easy," said Chris Cochran, executive director of ReFed. He said as competition increased in the sector — Amazon put the entire retail sector under tremendous margin pressure even before its purchase of Whole Foods Market — retailers started looking for ways to cut cost and create value.

The backlash against packaging waste, specifically plastic, also is intensifying. The state of California banned plastic bags in 2016 and this past April, New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced a bill to ban plastic bags across New York State. Numerous cities and counties around the country have bans or fees on plastic bags. As a result, grocers are being forced to reevaluate packaging choices.

Some market entrepreneurs see a solution in the biggest store change imaginable: designing waste out of grocery stores altogether by creating what are known as zero-waste grocery stores. Over the last decade, some retailers also started rethinking their waste footprint and designed stores that encourage customers to bring their own containers. The Refill Shoppe in Ventura California is one such store. The self-described "eco-conscious" shop sells bath, body and household liquids in bulk. In the food category some retailers, including The Filling Station In New York, have dedicated their entire store to selling just a few items in bulk. The Filling Station sells olive oil, vinegar, salt and beer that customers purchase using refillable containers.

While this refill model, which emphasizes reducing packaging waste, has worked for specialty shops, larger grocery stores are trying to figure out how to successfully apply this model to a zero-waste design. At the grocery retail level, a commitment to zero waste means aggressively reducing food and/or packaging waste.

The Ups and Downs of First U.S. Zero-Waste Grocery Store

The nation's first zero-waste grocery store, In.gredients, opened in 2012 in Austin, Texas. It was a small grocery store, just 1,400 square feet, with a big mission: no waste.

"The original idea was to be as package-free as possible while providing a grocery experience," explained Erica Howard Cormier, the store's former general manager. Most of the food was sold in bulk and housed in gravity bins. Items for purchase included dry goods like grains and nuts, locally sourced produce and liquids such as soap, soda, oil and vinegar. Customers used their own packaging for almost all of the products including eggs. Cormier said the store had a 70 percent package-free rate with a goal to increase the percentage every year.

But the store's packaging goals came at a significant cost.

"We realized after 18 months we weren't changing shoppers habits," Cormier said. "You have to plan a lot to go to the grocery store with your own containers and people would go to the store across the street because they forgot their container."

Another reason customers shopped elsewhere was to buy must-have items which were not available at In.gredients, like a six-pack of beer, potato chips and turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. The store was losing business and decided to shift its focus. It dropped the package-free mission but maintained a commitment to zero waste by aggressively focusing on food. "We did not send food waste to the landfill," Cormier said. But despite its best efforts, In.gredients closed in April as a result of low sales.

In.gredients co-founder Christian Lane still believes in the business model and says it could work if taken to scale. "Convenience stores aren't very big, but if you can get a number of those going and centralize buying, marketing, accounting and human resources and all those kinds of things, you can get economies of scale to make it work."

Lane said In.gredients was close to making the model work — it was open for five years, supported local growers, and provided some vendors with their first retail exposure, which led them to subsequent success— but when the lease came up for renewal the founders decided to close the doors, given the low sales and lack of profitability. Lane is currently focused on another entrepreneurial endeavor — a technology consulting business that existed before the store.

Zero-waste grocery stores have fared better around the world. Singapore opened its first store in April and several zero-waste stores have been open for several years across Europe, including in London, Berlin, Vienna and Barcelona. The success and spread of these stores has given American entrepreneurs hope that the concept can work stateside. A few think now is the perfect time to try.

In Denver, Lyndsey Manderson co-founded the retail stop Zero Market. The store, which opened a year ago, sells mostly bulk home and body-care products, such as shampoo, body oils, detergent and household cleaners. "Our goal is to only offer products that don't end up in a landfill. We want to make it easier for consumers to make more sustainable choices," said Manderson. She says customers have responded positively to the store, and by the end of the year, Manderson plans to open a second location that will be bigger and food-based.

Meanwhile, budding food entrepreneur Sarah Metz is hoping to open up the first zero-waste grocery store in Brooklyn, New York. It will be called The Fillery and carry items including grains, spices and liquids, along with cooking and home-care tools.

"Customers will shop from bulk-style bins and dispensers and be able to buy the quantities they need," Metz said. She plans to adhere to strict packaging policies. Metz has two personal investors who gave her just over $100,000, and she raised an additional $17,000 on Kickstarter for The Fillery.

But since the Kickstarter campaign in 2016, progress has been slow. Metz, an occupational therapist who works for the New York City Board of Education, does not have a business background. While she has been learning the entrepreneurial ropes for the last four years and competed in business-plan competitions, once winning $5,000, she lacks a concrete timeline for completing the mission outlined on Kickstarter back in 2016: opening a physical zero-waste grocery store in Brooklyn.

She has found vendors, created a product list and spent the last two years trying to secure a retail location but still has not found one. Even if she does, she said it might require a small-business loan, which will be difficult to secure lacking a partner with existing business experience. Metz is set to launch The Fillery as an e-commerce store at the end of this month.

Consumer guides exist online to highlight grocery stores where zero-waste shopping is possible, but the options tend to be stores that have large bulk-food sections rather than true zero-waste stores.

Grocery Chains Also Grappling With the Waste Problem

The zero-waste concept is not confined to small independent shops.

Last September, Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the United States, with $122 billion in sales in 2017, announced a plan to eliminate all food waste in its stores and across the company by 2025. It spent the past year conducting a comprehensive waste analysis to help the company better understand and measure the problem and devise an action plan.

"Our priority is eliminating avoidable food loss within our operations," said Jessica Adelman, Kroger's group vice president of corporate affairs. The company is considering automating its in-store ordering systems across key departments to reduce over ordering of highly perishable items. "As we get more technology in stores that allow ordering in real time, it will be a huge help for a company of our size," Adelman said.

Kroger's food waste efforts are focused on high-impact areas like the produce, meat and seafood departments where most of the waste occurs. One food waste prevention step Kroger has taken since launching its initiative is to expand it imperfect produce program to all stores. This program dedicates space to sell discounted imperfect produce, more commonly known as ugly fruit and vegetables.

Adelman said once Kroger gets a handle on reducing loss internally, the company will then turn its focus to the supply chain and take steps to influence suppliers and customers. To help achieve its goal, the company established a $10 million innovation fund to support food-waste solutions. Kroger's commitment also extends to packaging waste. In August, the company announced it was eliminating plastic bags from its stores by 2025.

Zero-waste tactics may look different for small start-up grocers compared to large supermarket chains, however, the industry commitment to reducing waste is occurring at all levels. Zero-waste saves businesses money by reducing disposal, labor and energy costs. The concept is better for the environment because it avoids wasting water, oil and other natural resources used to grow and deliver food, and it helps keep oceans free of plastic pollution and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

"Food waste has now emerged among the top priorities at the CFO level," ReFed's Cochran said.


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