Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Wednesday, December 17, 2014: And isn't it a lovely morning?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014: And isn't it a lovely morning? That line always reminds me of the Blazing Saddles black-humor scene … http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=blazing+saddles+lovely+.... (Check back possible updates later.)

Raunchy race relations of the past aside, it was a pretty in out there and also nicely temperature for mid-December, hitting 50-something. I got in some casting but even my reel got bored. I chatted with pro caster Ray S. and he hasn't felt a fish-on for over a week. A couple other die-hard bait-tossers have gone over 8 hours straight with el zilch-o to show. 

(Below: Ray on a better day, as in 56-7 worth of a better day, during 56th Annual LBI Surf Fishing Classic.)

Back to today, the ocean itself looks profoundly fishy. It’s cleanish and greenish with temps still holding in the mid- to upper-40s, ideal schoolie bass waters.  However, the only bass action is right at dark – and for 30 minutes, tops. I still work the BH Terrace/Spray Beach area. While I've yet to be skunked there, folks fishing that zone during the day have gotten nowhere fast. 

HOLGATE HAPPENINGS; Down Holgate way, the snowy owl – a blazing white male (I’m told) – is way down toward the Rip -- “18” marker and sometimes further south. A modest number of photogs and admirers have been hawking the owl.  They’re coming in buggies and hard foot. I say “hard’ because it’s a friggin’ haul to hike to the end with the sand so loose from recent storms.

Today marked the return of a personal raptor favorite, northern harriers. There were two seemingly bonded females doing their nonstop swooping and dipping over the grasses. They were working in unison with very little in-fighting so they might be siblings. Usually, when a cruising harrier meets up with another, midflight, there’s high tension in the air – and even occasional dogfights, though most of that is just feather-rattling and rarely includes actual impacts. It still cool to watch -- put on headphones with the sound of WWI dogfights. 

For more serious birders, there are some unusually large flocks of snow bunting in Holgate, though you only get a glancing look at them as they seldom stay put. By the by, snow bunting are often eaten by snowy owls, at last that I’ve found the remains of them in snowy owl boluses, the oblong blobs owl regurgitate after digesting all the meat off a prey item.  

Below: Not so hot pics I took today -- before the speedy snow bunting buggers zipped away.)

For folks unfamiliar with the distance markers in Holgate, this is what one looks like -- at the 10,000-foot mark.

Tomorrow a.m. might be clam-able on the mudflats, low enough tide permitting. Some folks might try the ugly drive in. Not me. Legs do you thing. 


Always play it cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Interesting Pine Barrens question on Facebook.

"What's your best explanation for the pigmy pines off 539 in Warren Grove?"

Jay Mann: This area is often described as "plains" or "pygmy pines plains," indicating they're more susceptible to fires. Those frequent fires burn faster and move forward more quickly, due to wind exposure. Other areas of the Pinelands that don't become as noticeably dwarfed or stunted often have stands of deciduous trees or lines of cedars blocking fire progress, so there is not uniform burn/recovery pattern like those off Routes 539 and 72. In fact, the finest example of "pygmy pines" anywhere on the planet can be seen on both sides of Route 72 west of the Rte. 539 junction -- and extending to the Chatsworth turn-off.


It took angler Dotty Ballantyne nearly two hours to land her potential new women’s 2 kg (4 lb) tippet class record red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) – a 12.02 kg (26 lb 8 oz) beauty she caught on November 20th while....More



One of the fastest, largest, and most sought after fish in the sea recently caught a big break. On Dec. 1, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) announced final regulations to help stop the waste of western Atlantic bluefin tuna and put this species, so highly prized by anglers, on the road to recovery.
Bluefin, which are predators at the top of the marine food web, can dive deeper than 4,000 feet, weigh up to 1,500 pounds, and crisscross the Atlantic on epic journeys. These oceanic giants push anglers — and their tackle — to their limits, which is one reason they’re so valuable to the industry. Sport fishermen chase them from Maine to the Bahamas. And catching one is the stuff of dreams.
But for decades, indiscriminate commercial surface longlines intended mainly for yellowfin tuna and swordfish have caught and killed tons of bluefin tuna and other ocean wildlife, including leatherback sea turtles and blue and white marlin, that are not intended targets. For almost as long, scientists and conservationists have urged NOAA Fisheries to do something about this incidental catch that threatens these important marine species. Over the years, the agency experimented with several protective measures, but the waste continued. A long-term, comprehensive solution remained elusive until something highly unusual happened: disparate groups that rarely see eye-to-eye rallied around this amazing species.
In early 2013, recreational and commercial fishermen teamed up with national and regional conservation organizations to call for increased protections for western Atlantic bluefin. They began sharing management ideas with NOAA Fisheries that would benefit these fish and allow commercial fishermen to continue fishing. This unlikely alliance sent a clear signal to fishery managers: Bluefin tuna matters to all of them.
Now, NOAA Fisheries has responded with a new approach to help protect bluefin tuna in several ways while still providing commercial fishermen access to their target species.
First, the regulations will create two new areas in the Gulf of Mexico — the only known spawning area for the western Atlantic population of bluefin — in which surface longlines would be restricted. During April and May, two of the peak spawning months, the agency will allow fishermen to use only highly selective fishing gear that significantly reduces bluefin tuna mortality.
The new provisions will also create a similar surface longline restricted area off Cape Hatteras, N.C., between December and April, when bluefin congregate to feed in these bait-rich waters.
Meanwhile, a new annual limit on the total incidental catch of bluefin in U.S. federal waters by surface longlines will allow fishery managers to more effectively control the number killed by this gear.
Additionally, fishermen will be required to keep all legal fish, and video cameras will be required on every U.S. surface longline vessel in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean to ensure no fish are discarded. This monitoring will promote individual accountability and considerably enhance enforcement of new limits.
Altogether, these new commercial fishing rules will help depleted western Atlantic bluefin tuna begin to rebuild to healthy levels. And that’s good for both the fish and for the anglers who like to fish for them.


This is a top-grade come-along ... essential for offroading and beaching ... works with chain and textile ropes. 


MAASDAM POW'R-PULL® Cable Pullers - 108435


I want to pass this along for folks who might want to help someone at Christmas:

“Hi Jay - We share a mutual FB friend Tony Stetzko who fell into bad health (viral pneumonia) . We know him as a former NJ guy who is a true waterman. I didn't know with your many contacts if this might a cause you would consider getting behind to incite people of similar interests to help him out htt

://www.gofundme.com/hihqog ...” 

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Comment by Dave Nederostek on December 18, 2014 at 10:09pm

Those pigmy pines you spoke of just past the now vacant land where Joe's Drive- In once stood are not so small anymore. 


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