Insert me at 10585 days ...
Wednesday, August 24, 2016: We’re into a south wind stint with the chance of some serious gusts. However, I see calmer air over the weekend.
Important weather note: You’ll hear wind forecasts repeatedly calling for "Southwest" winds for LBI. While that would seem to be a slightly offshore wind here, as the compass flies, we actually feel it as our common, summer side-ass winds. Those SW winds winds are sometimes dubbed, by me, as "Southeast," since that's what it feels like, as it coolly blows up the beach. It has to be strictly onshore south to warrant true SE winds.
Below, (and pardon the primitive map), you can easily see the slant behind any wind direction confusion. LBI lies heavily NE to SW. Again: a SW wind blow perfectly parallel to the Island, making it seen more South than West. Got all that?
One more thing. You can also factor in the subtle wind shift, to a slightly more southerly tilt, due to the maritime cooling effect, common to all shorelines.
Readers Digest version: When you hear "Southwest" winds forecast, those are most often our typical cooling side-breezes.
FLUKEAFIED TIMES: Fluking remains hot, even after I factor in the social media angle. And the social media impact is huge nowadays.
What might seem like a load of photos representing hitherto unseen numbers of doormats, I have to somehow formulate how much of this showing is simply because everyone has a camera -- and are most often deeply immersed in social media. Has it long been this good or am I just seeing more of it thanks to the internet?
When displayed on the likes of Facebook, fish photos shine -- sometimes bigger than life. Also a-shine is that moment of internet fame and recognition accompanying a fine image. I’m now constantly trying to determine a reality point tucked within the high-profile social media realm. In fact, I now give a sigh of reality-check relief when I get skunk reports, proving there is a baseline of normalcy, so to speak.
Chatting with top flukers and shops that have been at this a lot longer than the internet, I’m still seeing a discernible hot-fluking pattern emerging. Along with overall flattie numbers being quite nice, doormats are surely showing up like nobody’s business -- possibly like nothing in the past 50 years.
I can use that 50-year time-frame because many older anglers have damn good “personal best” recalls and have recently surpassed their best-ever fluke catches. In fact, I don’t know of many hardcore flukers who haven’t gone biggest-ever over the past couple years, led by this year. The reason is surely conservation.
CONSERVATION QUIETLY SHOWS: Hard to believe but there is very little agreeing data on age/size relationship of summer flounder. Stellar studies on fluke eggs, larvae and even young-of-year are all over the place. Often noted: Summer flounder may grow as large as 26 pounds and live up to 20 years, with females making up the largest and oldest specimens.
Based on limited data, I’m placing a seven-pound female just-doormat at between seven and 10 years old. That’s a wide range but I’m basing that on divergent studies.
I want to run with that ten-year age number because that’s roughly how long ago that really strict summer flounder regulations kicked in. Logic alone dictates that fluke saved that year – and which lucked out in life to this point – are nearing doormatity. And that’s what I think we’re cashing in on -- and might for years to come. In fact, within not that many years, a conserved fluke could easily exceed the IGFA world record, though that fish would have to be a triple-doormat.
The current world-record summer flounder grudgingly remains with Capt. Charles Nappi, Montauk, New York, who, on 15-Sep-1975, bested a 22-lb/7-oz, 35-inch fluke, using a snapper blue as bait. It has held the world record that long.
The world record should be under the name of Neptune, NJ, nurse Monica Oswald's for her scale-shaking 24.3-pound, 38.2-inch monster fluke, caught in 2007, near the Shrewsbury Rocks. It crushed the current world record.
In what was a cluster-f*** of mean-spirited jealously from some low-life web-based anglers -- along with naïve-at-best handling of the matter by IGFA -- Monica had her record chance ruined.
The up side to the Monica debacle is how it showed us that mindboggling doormats are out there – and growing.
Sidebar: I’ve talked with some serious flukers and none have ever found larger whole bunker inside them. To be sure, baby bunker are among the most important foodstuff for fluke growing toward maturity. But, likely due to water column separation, the most fluke get from surface-hanging big-bunker pods are some trickle down morsels from blues, stripers, sharks and birds blasting the bunker. Not that bottom-ambushing doormats have anything to lose weight over. They get more than their fair share of lower-down prey to gorge upon -- including their own kind. The bottom is their oyster. Also, should a bigger bunker sink to the bottom -- helped along by an angler -- a doormat fluke can suck it in … whole.
Trickle-down bunker effect ...
Been very busy on the water so it has been a while since my last report so I have a lot to say. But don’t I always? Early last week I saw Barnegat Bay get the warmest, 89 deg, I have ever seen in the last 25 + years. I am not talking back lagoons but the bay in front of Barnegat. With the passing of Monday’s cold front it has since dropped back to the upper 70’s to the low 80’s, brrrrr. With that warmth the fluke bite in the bay has been incoming to the beginning of outgoing. Speaking of fluke they are pushing towards the inlet getting ready to migrate east for the winter. Snappers to 1 pound blues have been popping up on the lighthouse bar, around the dike and along the sodbanks. Small metals are working and the smaller one make it into my livewell for fluke bait. Just off the beach spike weakfish are stacked (see attached photos). The kids on some of my recent trips have has a blast with c& r. With big bunker not around much the ospreys are dinning on them as well as brown sharks. Made it out early one morning with a friend and was able to scratch out one short bass. And a few 3-4 lb. blues. The coolest thing I saw in the last few outings were rays. During one trip when we were slowly motoring over some ell grass beds to make bait (cast netting peanut bunker) we came across 5 rough tail sting rays. These bad boys were as big as the hood of your car and only in only 2’ of water! Then a short time after while fishing over some sand we saw a big spiny butterfly fly. Then towards the end of the trip a cow-nose ray rounded out the ray slam ;)
Between being extremely booked and personal obligations I do not have any open dates until the afternoon of September 2. I had an amazing summer and would like to thank all that came out on the Debbie M. With school starting soon I am now booking afternoon/magic hour trips, weekends, and holidays.
Barnegat Bay, NJ
You Tube Channel: Fishing Barnegat Bay
First of hopefully many Sharks!
Nick Honachefsky — with Mickey Melchiondo and 4 others.
Good to see the brownies oceanside again!
Tropical Storm Gaston continues to look like the swell producer that many have been waiting for after a long, small summer. The ideal tropical storm would develop soon after exiting Africa, become a hurricane east of the Leeward Islands, and then recurve into the northern Atlantic without ever threatening land -- all traits Gaston is on a path for.
But doesn't it always seem that any swell offered to the East Coast comes with a caveat? While Gaston may pose no threat, and Fiona has officially fallen off the board, the disturbance 99L may require more attention than the inbound swell by the coming weekend.
For now, we can focus on the strengthening Gaston and the swell it will generate, hoping our attention won't need to shift south for the weekend.
Current Storm Status
: As of 11am EDT on Tuesday, Tropical Storm Gaston was 685 miles west of the southern Cabo Verde Islands, tracking west-northwest at 18kts. Maximum sustained winds are 55kts with a minimum pressure of 1002mb.
: Tropical Storm Gaston is forecast to continue strengthening over the next few days, likely becoming a hurricane later today. After 48hrs, conditions become less favorable and some weakening is possible, with conditions potentially becoming favorable again in the extended range. Gaston is expected to track more northwest over the coming days as the storm moves into the central Atlantic around a weakness in the high pressure ridge. This should keep Gaston from being a threat to land as it looks to eventually recurve into the northern Atlantic early next week.
Good things about Tropical Storm Gaston
- Will become a hurricane but stay well away from land
- Tracking towards the East Coast which aids in swell production
- Will reach hurricane strength soon and remain in swell window for many for an extended period
Not-so-Good things about Tropical Storm Gaston
- Overall, not a lot a lot of negatives as a tropical swell producer but distance from land will limit size some
- Mid to long period swell generated not ideal for most beachbreaks
- 99L may create undesirable weather/conditions for some during portions of swell
Swell Potential from Gaston
Confidence remains high that Gaston will be the first significant wave maker in a few months for many on the East Coast of the US and Canada, as well as the Caribbean. Look for swell to build into the weekend for the Caribbean and into next week for the East Coast. Currently 99L, the disturbance may throw a wrench into the swell and negatively impact weather and conditions for Florida and the Southeast.
And though they haven't been starved for waves, Western Europe should see some action in the longer range, as well, once the system moves into the northern Atlantic next week. For the latest on how the active tropics will impact the surf at your local breaks, be sure to stay tuned to the
for your area.
Wednesday, August 24th
Has U.S. wind energy finally arrived?
New England turbine construction, offshore survey mark major milestones
The long-delayed start to offshore wind energy in U.S. waters passed two benchmarks in recent days: The completion of five turbines at the 30-megawatt Deepwater Wind LLC project in Rhode Island waters, and the start of survey work over the Danish Oil and Natural Gas (DONG Energy) federal lease site off Massachusetts.
Using the Fred Olsen Windcarrier 433’x138’ jackup vessel Brave Tern, workers by Aug. 18 assembled the last nacelles and rotors atop the Deepwater towers, situated 2.9 miles off Block Island.
Compared to decades of offshore wind development in Europe, the Block Island installation is tiny, capable of powering around 17,000 homes, and weeks of testing lie ahead before the $300 million project can begin turning power this fall. But the sight of the first industrial-scale turbines in the northwest Atlantic Ocean drew international news media notice.
Meanwhile, about 60 miles to the east and 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., the 226’x46’x16’ Ocean Researcher is sounding DONG Energy’s 187,500-acre lease area it took on in late 2015.
The United Kingdom-flagged vessel showed up in New Bedford, Mass., in the first week of August, tying up at the port’s southern terminal, which has been renovated to the tune of $113 million in Massachusetts taxpayers’ money to support the offshore wind industry.
The terminal’s original anticipated customer – the troubled Cape Wind project proposed for Nantucket Sound – continues to struggle against political opposition, and the loss of its major power purchasers. DONG Energy’s lease area is over the horizon, and out of sight from beach resorts, but the company is still working with the region’s fishing industry to reduce conflicts.
Rhode Island state officials supporting the Deepwater Wind project see the potential for establishing their state, with its big marine terminal area at the former Quonset Point Navy base in North Kingston, as an onshore support hub for the nascent wind energy industry. Deepwater’s crew transfer vessel (CTV), the 70’6”x24’x4’ Atlantic Pioneer, built by Blount Boats in Warren, R.I., and operated by Atlantic Wind Transfers, received a lot of notice from other wind project developers.
Suppliers to the European offshore wind industry are paying close attention to developments in the U.S. market now. TheAtlantic Pioneer is a licensed version of CTV design from the UK’s South Boat IOW, where Aluminum Marine Consultants(AMC) is likewise looking to partner with U.S. shipbuilders.
In August AMC announced it is adding a new surface effect ship (SES) to its portfolio for the wind market, designed by Espeland & Skomedal Naval Architects of Norway.
The ESNA Tern will be “a next generation high performance crew transfer vessel, offering turbine access in up to 2.5m (8’) significant wave height, with a maximum speed above 40 knots and greatly reduced speed loss in high seas,” according to the company. AMC’s commercial director Rob Stewart says it will “help innovate the crew transfer vessel market.”
The area between the vessel’s slender catamaran hulls is enclosed with flexible reinforced rubber in the bow and an inflated rubber bag at the stern. Centrifugal fans pressurize the space, providing an air cushion that lifts up to 80% of the vessel weight.
The system can lift the boat up and down by more than 6’– effectively cancelling that height in wave motion – an especially useful tactic in long swells, the company says. That step up in sea state performance could be useful to U.S. turbine operators, who will face daunting conditions much of the year in southern New England and Mid-Atlantic offshore waters.
Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been a field editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for almost 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.
At least I wear the same breeches as he does. Christmas gift thought for that special surfer see: https://lairdapparel.com
Check out the schoolie stripers hanging around rocks