Below: A shot I took of one of the rarest vintage aircraft in the world, as it flew over LBI recently. It's the Ford Trimotor, also called the "Tri-Motor", and nicknamed the "Tin Goose". Per Wiki, the American three-engine civil transport aircraft began production in 1925 in Henry Ford factories, ending on June 7, 1933. A total of 199 of them were made with scant few still in flight. Trying to get info on where this one is hangered.
Below: Tog teeth jewelry?
Tuesday, September 15, 2020: Crazed times are upon me – though I enjoy occasionally rushing in here to chat with all y’all.
As my grandma would say, “I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off,” which is yet another down-on-the-farm image that formerly landed hard on my easily influenced pubescent mind. Hearing it so much, I truly dreamt of headless chickens, though my dreams had them running around just fine, as if heads were a superfluous appendage.
Back to my initial crazed-times premise, I’m feeling the effects of a slow-to-depart postseason. I'm seeing it an anecdotal light.
While anecdotal can’t launch a rocket, it can readily indicate more folks are hanging on the Island than one can shake a stick at – yet another adage repeatedly used by my grandparents, as if they were intentionally talking in some sort of code meant to elude my immature brain. I saw nary a single shaking stick throughout my growing up stint.
I use an eyes-on anecdotal methodology to tabulate the people count hereabouts. As I now routinely drive the vehicle-laden Island –which is part and parcel to my headless chickenliness – I take ganders down east/west side roads, noting the number of parked vehicles. I'm clearly registering a heavy load of vehicles, all representing hangers-on who have usually dearly departed for “back home” by now.
As to my traffic-signal-raddled daily drives, they befuddle me while heading to (and from) the far south end -- to ferret out mullet. The need to attend low tides along in Holgate, when coupled with SandPaper duties, has me going like nobody’s business -- yet another undecipherable grandparent term when taken literally. "But if it's 'nobody's business' why even mention it, Grandpap?" "You're going to be smart one someday, sonny boy," grandpap would respond when he didn't know the answer to something.
As to The SandPaper advertisers keeping us busy, I offer a huge wad of credit to businesses that made lemonade with COVID lemons, squeezing out at least a modicum of normalcy.
On a couple occasions in here, I’ve ventured a guess that some businesses made out like bandits – hark, another olden expression that often had me nervously looking around, even when holding my mom's hand.
I herein must admit I haven’t gotten summer 2020 success stories directly from a bandit’s mouth. I've only observed an overflow of outside-seated diners or folks waiting in line to enter lower occupancy business, like bagel shops.
To make things work in these toughest of C-19 times, businesses had to go ball’s out.
By the by, that “ball’s out” expression is one olden-ass expression, literally stemming from steam engine times -- when a steam-powered machine, when running to the nth degree, forced large, rounded, metal pressure-control balls, aka governors, outward. When balls were out, the spinning governors indicated things were moving to the maximal mechanical degree, with excess stream sometimes indicating things were ready to blow sky high.
Below: These be an example of balls -- un-out at the moment.
By way of apology, my overload of ball’s-out things to do has me falling behind with the many groups and organizations I’m involved with. If any of you are part of those committees and boards, please pass on how I hate missing meetings and such but this time of year, i.e. mullet netting season, has me running around like a chicken with … oh, that’s right, I’ve already been through that.
I put an edited version of this coyote-based communique in my weekly column. This longer version has more to say. It is from Kevin Schmidt:
“I enjoyed your coywolf article. I live in High Bar Harbor in the summers. When the pandemic started, my wife and I came down and spent most of our time on the island With our 3 young boys. A neighbor mentioned there was a coyote sighting. I hunt, so naturally my kids and I set up a trail cam on the BL beach. There were tracks running perpendicular to walks, so I was fairly certain there was some truth to the 'sighting talk.' You can imagine how surprised I was when the cam picked up pics of 3, what I thought to be the largest coyotes I’ve ever seen. There is not 1, but 3. Several other family members of mine have houses in High Bar and we’ve seen them throughout the summer, always at night. We are fairly certain their den is on the dyke. There is plenty of food, but unfortunately my neighbor lost her cat midsummer. We are pretty sure what happened. It is a bit unnerving that those coywolves would be brazen enough to come to the end of a cul de sac street in high bar. … and at some point they most likely will need to be trapped and relocated. I just hope something horrific doesn’t have to first happen.”
To some north end residents who say they’re going to take coyote removal into their own hands, it should be duly noted that one cannot simply go out and trap wild animals. There are permits and red tape to be marshalled. In fact, see ...
NJ Hunting & Trapping Explorer
LADIES FIRST AND FOREMOST: (The following will also appear in next week’s SandPaper but I wanted to share in here first)
Above: PERSONAL RECORD: Sue Fori makes the best of a fast-fading recreational fluke season by besting a 22½-inch flattie. It's her first keeper – and she seems quite happy with it. This weekend marks the end of fluke-seeking 2020 for anglers. (Supplied Photo)
Calling all gals. Yep, you’re the call gals I’m looking for. I’m desperately seeking those lady anglers who have lately graced photos in my columns and blogs, showing they’ve landed some of the finest fish taken all summer.
You, my worthy fish battlers, are perfectly suited to again show your emancipation from being typecast as the weaker angling sex by entering the upcoming 2020 LBI Surf Fishing Classic. I’m serious as tuna fillets. There was something about this summer that highly highlighted the hooking capacity of the finer sex. Now, it’s time to take that talent to the streets, or, more exactly, the surf.
Admittedly, it’s a significant leap of faith for gals to move from the drop-and-hook ease of boat fishing and headlong into the oft stormy waters of surfcasting. But all y'all can do it. I -know you can. Prove me right.
Quick sidebar: A spontaneous pool taken by Fishermen’s Magazine indicated that gals, on average, have no problem being called fishermen. I’ll meet half way by occasionally calling fisherpersons, though most often hiding behind the androgynous angler term.
I'd like to make an admission to yinz lady fishermen/persons who might be hesitant to sign up for the Classic. I harbor a hint of fear when surfside fishing conditions demand casting sinkers over three or four ounces. Oh, I’ll first heave that weight like a champ, but then I go into cringe mode, fearing a catastrophic flipping shut of the reel’s bail arm or, just as bad, a hideous cast-ending tangle. The sound of sinker snapping off can sound like a gunshot. That sound freaks me out as much now as it did over 50 years back, when I sent my first sinker off into oblivion.
I bring up my casting concern since the most common reason given by ladies dreading surf fishing is, yep, casting. That fear is so pervasive -- and legitimate -- that the Classic committee decided to allow the best caster in the vicinity/family to throw out baited rigs for those less casting competent. That levels the Classic playing field and opens a huge Classic entryway for lady anglers.
That said, I must emphasize that things get quite strict after a cast is made on behalf of another angler. The cast rod must immediately by handed over to the assigned angler -- or quickly placed into a rod holder exclusively assigned to the designated angler. By rule, the cast-out rod cannot simply be spiked and left for whomever wants to run up when the bait is taken. How will the classic committee know? Firstly, it’s honor thing, which is often a good thing. However, should a grand prize fish be landed and a protest results, up pops a polygraph. I know that’s playing harshball, but Classic committee members have found that well-established rules make for a more prestigious event. By way of a parallel, have you ever watched any golf Classics. You breathe wrong and it’s a penalty stroke. Our Classic isn’t nearly that strict but it shows rigid rules matter.
That unpleasantness dispatched, the nine-week Classic is as fun a fishing time as contests get.. Making matters comelier for lady and young’un anglers is the addition of top kingfish catches to the bounty of cash prizes. When the surf is down a bit, which can often happen with fall’s west winds, the lighter gear used to catch kingfish is well suited for those with a fear of heavyweight casting.
Any chance I can get an “Amen” and a “Where do I sign up” from fishergals?
Below: This is Kyle Olt about to help me release one of my just-netted mongo mullet -- of the striped mullet variety. This look-alike species is actually not that closely related to the silver mullet, which we call finger mullet. Striped mullet are huge in Florida, where they were first commercially cast-netted for the Japanese roe market -- I was in on that phase -- but have since become locally popular as a smoked fish product. Who woulda thunk it? I just sent them a couple ... via the ocean
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Of Angler Interest: My first mullet net throw of the season ... and, just like that, 2020 stays on its frickin' weird streak. Where there should have been a slew of one-ounce finger mullet, up pops two one-pound-plus mullet. No, these were not a couple corncobs. Hell, either of these bad boys could have kicked the crap out of a whole school of corncobs.
Below: The man (on his quad) was checking for permits. I invited him back whenever he feels the urge.
HOLGATE HAPPENINGS: The first part of the Holgate beach is as broad as the wide Mississippi, though I have no idea how wide Mississippi might be, per se. Suffice to say, the first 4,000 feet or so is a breeze to buggy. Even beyond that safe-passage segment, lower tides allow for a surprise-free drive all the way down to The Rip.
Things get dicey for drivers upon reaching the west peninsula, the west-facing side of the far south end. That once easily driven beachline has gone seriously skinny, via ongoing erosion. The trip to the back cut is doable only during the bottom of the tide. Don’t get trapped thereupon.
As to fishing the Holgate Rip strip, some gorgeous flatties are being taken, best coaxed by livelining the larger finger mullet now starting to show. Of course, our fluking days are down to a precious few. The open season goes belly up on Sept. 19.
Jim Hutchinson Sr. report:
The fishing continues to be strong in the Beach Haven area for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association even though the current weekend appears to be a washout thanks to some large ocean waves. This is the last week for fluke in New Jersey, but there appears to be a good selection of other fish to keep the rods bent and the fish-box full.
Captain Alex Majewski of Lighthouse Sportfishing reports fluking remains strong with best catches inside around high tide and in the ocean when the conditions are more favorable for ocean fluking. He sees 1-4 pound blues cruising the inlet and jetty haunts. Schoolie bass are still making a showing with the low light conditions more favorable. He has found enough weakfish to target them. He recommends anchoring up in the bay with chum and bending the rods with species like blowfish, smooth dogfish, baby sea bass, kingfish, snappers, and more.
Last week the “Starfish” with Captain Carl, First Mate Max and Second Mate Marlyn fished with a group of 10 from Bergen County. There were over 110 fish caught, including many keeper sized black sea bass that were released. The group managed three keeper fluke to 22-inches.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing had Sean Griffin, his daughter Brooke, and sister Trish on a 4-hour bay charter. Due to a rough ocean, the crew opted for the bay. They started with good tide conditions and the anglers boxed 3 keepers to 5 pounds. Later in the day Captain Brett had his wife Jennifer, and son Luke out for a quick 2-hour trip. Highlight of the trip was Luke landing a dinner-plate triggerfish to take the family pool.
Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” took his beautiful wife out fishing on Labor Day and the pair limited out on 6 nice fluke. On another trip Captain Gary had a good trip with a party catching several nice fluke up to 25-inches.
Captain Dave Wittenborn made a trip to the Triple Wrecks on the “Benita J” during the beautiful Labor Day weekend. Blue sky and light winds made for a very enjoyable fishing day. Captain Dave reported he fish gods blessed them with 5 yellowfin in the 50-60-pound class. They had Will, a junior angler, reel in his first yellowfin.
‘FOWL’ PLAY WITH CHICKEN RULES COULD CONCEIVABLY BRING ABOUT THE NEXT PANDEMIC
In the midst of a pandemic with a pivotal election fast approaching, I would like to talk to you about chicken. And if you’re a member of the chicken-eating public, it could well affect how you feel about those nuggets, breasts, chicken soups and salads – and all the other ways we feast on fowl.
The National Chicken Council (NCC) is eagerly awaiting a Federal Register notice, and subsequent final rule, that will upend long-held USDA procedures about the processing and packing (and ultimate consumption) of diseased birds. And while it can take years for a proposed rule to become a final one, this has the potential to be fast-tracked while we’re all otherwise occupied.
Actually, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has already decided to “grant” what Food & Water Watch calls the “cancer chicken gift to the poultry industry.” All that’s left to do is slip it into the Federal Register. And barring successful legal action or an amazing outcry from the public, this has all the appearances of a done deal. Here’s what the NCC wants to happen, and while the organization would like you to think it’s all about not wasting “wholesome” birds (despite their unwholesome state), it’s really about upping that line speed to increase profits for processing plants.
A ‘big win’ in the wings
In March of 2019, the NCC petitioned the FSIS to do away with a long-established rule stating that chickens afflicted with avian Leukosis (a retrovirus that causes tumors in young chickens) are not fit for human consumption and must be “condemned.”
These tumors can appear in a bird’s liver, spleen, kidneys, and even in the feather follicles. As it appears in a current FSIS training guide: Leukosis can appear in just the viscera or just in the skin of the carcass; but any carcass affected with only one (or more) of the leukosis tumors…are unwholesome…(and) must be disposed of properly to ensure they are not used as human food.
Along with making these chicken tumors a “trimmable condition,” the NCC also wants to scrap the regulation mandating that when each new flock arrives for processing, the first 300 birds are inspected by FSIS for Leukosis, giving the agency the authority to “adjust” the ongoing processing operations “as needed.”
Any verbiage, of course, that interferes with line speed amounts to fighting words for the chicken industry. In a video appearing on the NCC’s Chicken Check-In webpage, in which the accepted petition was called “a big win for the poultry industry,” Ashley Peterson, the council’s VP of Science & Technology, says that avian Leukosis really isn’t a problem anymore, nor are afflicted chickens a threat to the consumer. This will free up the USDA at the beginning of every flock change, she said, so the agency can focus on “food safety issues.”
But as Dr. “Pat” Basu, Chief Public Health Veterinarian for FSIS from 2016 to 2018 told author Amanda Little in an interview for Bloomberg Opinion, this is indeed a very real food safety issue.
Basu is quoted in the Bloomberg article as saying avian Leukosis can become a systemic disease, so simply cutting out tumors would be a cosmetic treatment, not one that would do away with the virus. Even more frightening is Basu’s reminder that Covid-19 “transferred into humans from an animal source,” and that “sooner or later” avian Leukosis “will mutate.”
Despite the NCC’s position that due to mass flock vaccinations for another avian ailment, Marek’s disease, avian Leukosis has been practically “eliminated,” it’s highly contagious within flocks, resulting in tens of thousands of chickens destroyed annually, according to Little. A study published last year out of China details one of the newer subgroups of avian Leukosis, virus “J,” which was first singled out in 1988 from “meat-type” chickens in the UK. (There are six Leukosis virus subgroups that have been isolated in chickens.)
But the NCC really doesn’t want to talk about virus subgroups or relatively recently-isolated strains of avian Leukosis. In fact, the selling points for its petition are rather odd. While saying that the virus is basically nonexistent in today’s chickens, it also states that trimming tumors and sending the diseased birds to your supermarket will “reduce food waste,” its “ethical obligation.”
So, how did we get to this situation where food safety rules are not just stalled, but going backwards?
As mentioned in the NCC’s petition to FSIS, trimming tumors and ditching official inspections of new flocks align with President Trump’s “reform measures intended to decrease regulatory burden on industry,” eliminating “unnecessary regulations.”
But this is no cause for worry, assures NCC’s Peterson. “The consumer is absolutely still as safe as they were before,” she says.
Considering, however, that the CDC reported three years ago that both campylobacter and salmonella rates of infection (mostly from poultry) are increasing, with older numbers finding that over 70 percent of supermarket chickens contain dangerous bacteria, our current safety record with poultry is a pretty low bar to set.
The Barnegat Light Restoration Project is a cooperative effort between the
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ, Rutgers University, the US Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife to improve habitat suitability for endangered beach-nesting birds, especially the Piping Plover. The project was completed in two phases. First, vegetation was cleared to provide open, shelly habitat for the birds to lay their eggs. Second, a pond was created to provide foraging habitat. Once the restoration was completed, the perimeter of the project area was posted with fencing and signs to limit human disturbance during a very successful breeding season.
An injured whale was rescued from the waters between New York and New Jersey after a multi-day effort including agencies from three different states, including a specialty team that flew from Provincetown, Massachusetts to New York City and a specialized team from Monmouth University.
The whale was reported to the Coast Guard after being spotted by a recreational boat off the coast of the Rockaways in New York City, across from Sandy Hook, in late July. An investigation showed it was entangled by several buoys and thousands of pounds of steel fishing gear.
“Sometimes the whale could get themselves out of whatever they’re tangled in. Sometimes it just takes very minimal amount of (work), a small inflatable boat with some specialized knives and cutting tools to cut it free. But this was a big was a serious, entanglement to get the whale free from,” Jim Nickles, a marine scientist with Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute who assisted in the operation, told NJ Advance Media.
The rescue began on Monday, July 27, when rescue workers from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society went out to check on the condition of the whale.
Although they couldn’t yet see what, something was anchoring the whale to the sea floor, leaving him unable to swim and barely able to hold his head above the surface to breathe. The whale was in immediate danger of being hit by a boat or being attacked by a predator.
Both teams went back out to the whale the following day, taking images that showed exactly what was holding the whale down: over 4,000 pounds of fishing equipment.
The next morning, a team from the Center for Coastal Studies specializing in disentangling whales flew from Massachusetts to New York on a donated flight, ready to help free the whale.
The team was able to cut away multiple buoys and cut through some of the gear near the whale’s tail, but the whale was still stuck in the water by the time it was too dark for rescue efforts to continue safely.
“That was among the more challenging whale disentanglement cases we have dealt with. That whale was fighting to live. All the folks we were working with on the water the last two days were fighting to help it”, Scott Landry, the director of Marine Animal Entanglement Response at the Center for Coastal Studies in Massachusetts said shortly after the whale was freed in July.
On the fourth day, a research vessel from Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute and a researcher from NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s Sandy Hook lab were called out, as well as a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Drift Collection Vessel.
Both boats used heavy-duty gear to attack the fishing supplies, and by 4 p.m. the final cut was made to free the whale, four days after he was first spotted.
Although whale entanglements are not unusual, a rescue effort of this magnitude is, experts said.
“Using a hacksaw rescuers were able to cut through the steel cable holding the whale and the whale was able to swim free,” Nickles said.
Nickles said the Urban Coast Institute usually uses this particular boat for research efforts and it’s been several years since the institute assisted in a whale disentanglement.
This particular story had a happy ending. The whale was spotted a week after is recured off the coast of Long Island and appeared to be doing just fine.
“I’m sure he’ll have a scar and a bad remembrance of coming off the New York Coast, but short of that, I think he’s okay,” Nickles said.
Nickles stressed that the rescue effort would not have been possible if the boater did not call in the whale sighting to the Coast Guard. Callers will be asked questions about what they see, and to send a photograph if possible, so rescue efforts can begin.
Injured whales spotted in the ocean anywhere between Maine and Virginia can be reported to NOAA at 866-755-6622.
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Katie Kausch may be reached at