Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Wednesday, September 16, 2015: To look at the ocean now you’d never know


No buggies on LBT front beach until Oct. 1 ... Warnings being issued.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015: To look at the ocean now you’d never know it has been one of the rougher summers in many years. From by vantage of calling in daily wave and rip current reports, we were stuck on medium for much of June, July and August. That means there was significant wave action.

Maybe it’s the global weather change kicking in, but during my decades of summers here on LBI – all of them eyeing the waves – the great majority saw virtually no wave action at through June, July and August; I’m talking the largest waves maybe a couple feet – on rough days.

Night bassing remains decent. I can’t offer specifics except to say go north young man. Both jigs and baits are working in the dark. Clam bait coaxed in a 29-incher for J.K. I see where Dante and Justin also got into bass using their hot jigs. Not sure where. (See photo below).

The bait presence in the surf and inside the inlet remains dominated by very small spearing. The river of silversides never stops, nor do the incessant attacks by mini-snapper, less than six inches long. Mullet run is stop-and-go, mainly tide based, with dropping and low showing the greatest movement.  

I should note that I put in a goodly amount of south end plugging today and got squat. The water was 69.5 with lots of surface splashes. No takers on my tired jigs (I gotta re-up) and seldom-used swimming plugs, all small. Later today and I’m switching over to big-splash surface plugs, maybe even resort to the famed light blue and white Atoms popper.

I scoured the ocean surface with powerful binocular and couldn’t see a single fish jumping or ball balls tailing up. I saw a goodly number of fishing boats heading north out of LEI. If any of you guys read this let me know what’s up. Thanks.

BUGGY BANTER: Holgate sands have hardened after the rain but will dry up and loosen again quickly over the next few above-average warm days.

Thanks to the majority of folks staying in the tracks. It makes for such a smoother drive down there … free of any bog-down potential. It can be a bit hard to break out of those main tracks to allow an approaching buggy to pass – yes, we’re the polite ones who relinquish the tracks to other vehicles. The trick is to get a little headway going and bust out toward which ere side has some old tracks to wait in while the approaching vehicle passes.

I want to mention that last year, during the great snowy owl watching spree, I had all too often bushwhacked my own tracks across the sand. Gospel truth (ask Stohrer’s Manahawkin Shell), I ended up doing over $500 in tire damage running over buried items with ugly projections sticking out, like rusty spikes. If that isn’t reason to stick to established tracks nothing is.

Check this out ... 

Army Corps Resumes Shooting Cormorants to Protect Endangered Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Oregonian] - September 16, 2015 - 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has resumed killing protected seabirds at the mouth of the Columbia River while waging a legal fight with groups who say it's needless slaughter.

Workers last week shot 200 adult double-crested cormorants on East Sand Island as part of a plan to reduce the bird colony by 57 percent over four years. It follows a nearly two-month pause to allow adult birds to tend to their hatchlings.

Since May, workers have killed 358 birds and oiled more than 5,000 nests to keep eggs from hatching. The mission is expected to continue until the birds' winter migration out of Oregon.

The culling stems from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries biological opinion ordering the Corps to boost the survival of endangered salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River system. Given multiple options to achieve that goal, Corps officials settled on killing cormorants despite opposition from the environmental community. Federal scientists estimate the cormorants kill 2 million endangered fish annually.

Ya got me!!!!


Striped Bass Bonus Program Update

Striped Bass Bonus Program permits were mailed to all who purchased one prior to May 1, 2015, but many were returned by the USPS. Those permits should be resent by September 18.

Anyone who has not received a replacement permit by October 1 should call 609-748-2074 and leave a message with name and phone number where you can be reached during business hours. The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife apologizes for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience.


Updated and new information about the SBBP will be on this webpage and sent to 
Marine Fisheries e-mail list subscribers and media outlets when issued. Permits have been issued to replace permits purchased prior to May 1, 2015.

Several post offices had issues with delivering the permits and recently returned many of the replacement permits to the Division. The Division will resend those permits by September 18, 2015. Please be patient and allow some extra time for delivery.

Anyone who purchased a permit prior to May 1, 2015 and has not received a replacement permit by October 1, 2015 should call 609-748-2074 and leave a message with their name and a phone number where you can be reached during business hours.

New applications for individuals and party/charter boats are currently being processed in order of receipt. The number of permits issued will be limited at the Division's discretion based on harvest reports and other factors to ensure the 2015 quota is not exceeded.

Effective September 1, 2015, the new SBBP regulations are as follows:

  • One fish 24" to less than 28"

Please note that the order of fish harvested does not matter.

New Jersey recreational striped bass regulations in all state waters are as follows:

  • One fish 28" to less than 43" AND one fish 43" or greater

Anglers are limited to one bonus permit only in 2015.


US National Weather Service Philadelphia/Mount Holly
39 mins

Good morning! Another warm meteorological fall day is ongoing for our forecast area. Other than some thin cirrus, not many clouds at all again. As this NESDIS satellite imagery from this morning shows, one has to go quite a ways to experience cloudier conditions.

US National Weather Service Philadelphia/Mount Holly's photo.
Justin Immordino's photo.
Justin Immordino's photo.

Apparently, now that the striped bass reduction debate is over, the folks at NRDC, PEW, Marine Fish Conservation Network and EDF have enough turncoat champions to move forward with their Atlantic Coast marine reserve concept...combine this with further recreational restrictions, and 'catch shares' and the future of recreational fishing is in dire jeopardy. Beware of false idols...


WWF Reports "Catastrophic Decline" in Mackerel and Tuna Stocks Over Past 40 Years

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Guardian] By Fiona Harvey - September 16, 2015 -  

WWF says we risk losing species critical to human food security unless action is taken to halt overfishing and other threats to marine life

Tuna and mackerel populations have suffered a “catastrophic” decline of nearly three quarters in the last 40 years, according to new research.

WWF and the Zoological Society of London found that numbers of the scombridae family of fish, which also includes bonito, fell by 74% between 1970 and 2012, outstripping a decline of 49% for 1,234 ocean species over the same period.

The conservation charity warned that we face losing species critical to human food security, unless drastic action is taken to halt overfishing and other threats to marine life.

Louise Heaps, chief advisor on marine policy at WWF UK, said: “This is catastrophic. We are destroying vital food sources, and the ecology of our oceans.”

Attention in recent years has focused on species such as bluefin tuna, now on the verge of extinction, but other close relatives commonly found on restaurant menus or in tins, such as yellowtail tuna and albacore, are now also becoming increasingly scarce. Only skipjack, also often tinned, is showing “a surprising degree of resilience”, according to Heaps, one of the authors of the Living Blue Planet report, published on Wednesday.

Other species suffering major declines include sea cucumbers, a luxury food in Asia, which have fallen 98% in number in the Galapagos and 94% in in the Egyptian Red Sea. Populations of endangered leatherback turtles, which can be seen in UK waters, have plummeted.

Overfishing is not the only culprit behind a halving of marine species since 1970. Pollution, including plastic detritus which can build up in the digestive systems of fish ; the loss of key habitats such as coastal mangrove swamps; and climate change are also taking a heavy toll, with the oceans becoming more acidic as a result of the carbon dioxide we are pouring into the atmosphere.

“I am terrified about acidification,” Heaps told the Guardian. “That situation is looking very bleak. We were taught in the 1980s that the solution to pollution is dilution, but that suggests the oceans have an infinite capacity to absorb our pollution. That is not true, and we have reached the capacity now.”

She predicts that all of the world’s coral reefs could be effectively lost by 2050, if current trends are allowed to continue unchecked, and said that evidence of the effects of acidification – which damages tiny marine animals that rely on calcium to make their shells and other organs - could be found from the Antarctic to the US west coast.

Although overfishing is a global problem, the Pacific is of particular concern, as the Chinese, Japanese and Korean fleets are among the world’s biggest, greater in size and fishing capacity than Europe’s.

Chinese fishermen are also increasingly fishing in other waters, expanding their reach. Shark-finning, the practice of removing only the fins from sharks and throwing the bodies back, to make the Asian delicacy shark-fin soup, has taken a severe toll on stocks, with a quarter of shark species predicted to become extinct in a decade if nothing is done.

However, Heaps said there were solutions. “It’s not all doom-and-gloom. There are choices we can make. But it is urgent.”

Overfishing can be managed with better governance – Heaps points to the recovery in North Sea cod stocks as an example of how management can work. She also urged governments to adopt the sustainable development goals, proposed by the United Nations and including provisions for protecting marine life, at the UN general assembly later this month.

Heaps urged people only to eat fish certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which examines fisheries against a range of criteria to ensure that they are being properly managed. An increasing number of fisheries have been accredited by the MSC, and at present about half of global white fish stocks are certified, including many in the North Sea.

She called for more partnerships between private sector fishing fleets and governments, in order to conserve stocks. “We need to keep [fishermen] on board, because they must see that good governance is in their interests,” she said.


Heading to MV with Joe Carey Saturday

Bob Popovics's photo.
"Don't overlook Denver-based Furniture Row, which had its best regular season in its history this year, with Truex posting one victory, five top fives and 14 top 10s in the first 15 races."

They might be considered underdogs, but Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing have major reason for optimism heading into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.


Parrot pikies w/ Evil Stevel tails.

Louis Q. Azcueta's photo.

Chancey Charters added a new photo.
16 hrs · iOS

Travis with a 42 lber just prior to release

Chancey Charters's photo.

Proposed NOAA Rule Could Pose Threat To Fish Exports From Asia

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [inside US-China Trade]  September 16, 2015

Shipments of fish to the United States by China and other major Asian exporters could be ensnared by a proposed administration rule that would block imports from foreign fisheries that cannot demonstrate similarly effective standards in preventing the serious injury and death of marine mammals, according to marine life experts.

The proposed rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would require a ban on all fish and fish products from countries that do not have comparably effective regulations to reduce the serious injury and death of marine mammals. This involves an assessment of both a country's rules and the results they achieve.
As for the regulatory regime, countries must show that they have laws or regulations prohibiting the intentional and unintentional harm of marine mammals in export fisheries. In addition, they must demonstrate that these rules are being adhered to through monitoring programs that entail having observer personnel aboard fishing vessels to measure unintentional entangling of marine mammals in fishing gear, called "bycatch," and electronic monitors of aquatic life.
But creating and maintaining these types of systems would likely prove to be a major hurdle for some of the largest exporters of fish to the U.S., such as China and Indonesia, experts said. Those countries -- which represent the largest and third largest sources of imported fish to the U.S., respectively -- do not currently have the infrastructure to monitor bycatch and sources are skeptical that they would be able to implement the necessary regulatory changes to comply.
For instance, China would essentially be starting from scratch in implementing a monitoring system, according to Ray Hilborn, a professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at University of Washington. Hilborn said that China measurements of fish stocks are typically only estimates because many fisheries do not even calculate their catch. Additionally, training observers requires significant investments of time and money that the Chinese government may be hesitant to commit to, he said.
Even with those monitoring mechanisms in place, some Chinese fisheries may still face difficulty in receiving a comparability finding because the gear used at those fisheries typically cause high bycatch. According to one fisheries expert, many Chinese fisheries use gillnets, which are mesh nets that ensnare most any animal it interacts with. When marine mammals are ensnared in gillnets, they are unable to surface for air and drown.
A 2014 Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report titled "Net Loss: The Killing of Marine Mammals in Foreign Fisheries," indicated that the use of gillnets and the similar driftnets by Chinese fisheries is likely causing the bycatch of baleen whales.
"While the available literature does not reflect a significant number of interactions between Chinese driftnets and set gillnets and baleen whales, the large number of vessels operating in Chinese coastal waters are likely causing more bycatch than suggested," the report said.
The prospects of any potential ban, however, are still far off. The proposed rule provides a five year-exemption period on bans of fish and fish product exports from when the rule goes into effect on Aug. 1, 2016. This will allow countries time to implement regulatory programs that would comply with the rule.
In addition to China, Indonesia is another country that would likely have difficulty meetingU.S. fishery standards on the minimization of marine mammal bycatch because it also lacks any comparable scientific infrastructure, according to a U.S. fisheries expert based in Indonesia.
The NRDC report notes that "Indonesia has not established any effective bycatch mitigation measures, and monitoring is largely nonexistent despite the sheer scale of offshore fishing operations in the country."
Specifically, some fisheries in Indonesian waters use long-range longlines and driftnets, which the report said "has likely caused a significant increase in marine mammal bycatch." Longlines pose a particular threat to sea lions, fur seals and toothed whales.
China and Indonesia are not the only countries expected to face an uphill battle to comply with the U.S. law. One fisheries expert said that gillnets are widely used throughout southeast Asia because they are the cheapest method to get the most fish out of the ocean. The NRDC report identifies the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia as countries that contribute to the bycatch of cetaceans, a group of marine mammals that include whales, dolphins and porpoises.
Another expert described these countries as not having the capacity to implement a regulatory regime that includes a monitoring mechanism and changing the way fisheries operate in terms of gear used because it would be an expensive cultural shift. Developing countries, such as Indonesia, would struggle to find the resources to overhaul their regulatory regimes and may face export bans from the U.S. because of a lack of resources.
The proposed rule does specify that NOAA can offer financial assistance "subject to the availability of funds" for countries that do not have the financial capacity to do implement their own regulatory program. However, the rule also notes that "funds are limited and likely will be insufficient to meet all requests for assistance."
Other major fish and fish products exporters to the U.S., such as Canada and Chile, are expected to be able to comply with most parts of the proposed law, experts said. Many Canadian regulations are similar to the U.S. regime, one expert pointed out. However, because Canadian law still permits some hunting of seals, fisheries participating in those activities are unlikely to receive comparability findings, another expert noted. Chile is also expected to be able to comply with the rule because its fishing industry underwent significant reforms in the 1990s in consultation with NOAA.
NOAA published its proposed rule in the Federal Register on Aug. 11 in response to a settlement it reached with the Center for Biological Diversity, the Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) and NRDC after those groups sued the U.S. government for not implementing a provision of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. That provision, which was added in 1984, directs the Secretary of the Treasury to ban the imports of fish or fish products that were caught by gear that is also responsible for catching marine mammals in excess of the U.S. limit.
According to Sarah Uhlemann, the international program director of the Center for Biological Diversity, her group and TIRN first filed a petition against the government in 2008, requesting that swordfish imports be banned unless foreign fisheries could prove that their bycatch limits are "as robust" as those implemented by the U.S. This led NOAA to issue an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in April 2010. However, that rule was never implemented, which led to the 2014 lawsuit by the environmental groups.
The settlement between the environmental groups and the government required NOAA to issue a proposed rule by Aug. 1, 2015 and implement the rule by Aug. 1, 2016.
The U.S. limit is based on the potential biological removal (PBR) level, which measures the maximum amount of marine mammals that can be removed from a population without threatening the viability of the species, according to Nina Young, a foreign affairs specialist at NOAA. NOAA calculates that level by factoring in a species' population, reproduction capacity and the level of risk of the species. U.S. fisheries must maintain bycatch levels below the PBR, with a goal of its bycatch approaching insignificant levels, which is defined as less than 10 percent of PBR, she said.
Countries will have to show that their export fisheries do not cumulatively exceed the bycatch limit of a marine mammal species. However, if a country does exceed its limit, an export fishery could still receive a comparability finding if data is presented that shows that if every other export fishery had the same level of bycatch, they would cumulatively be below the bycatch limit.
The first step in implementing this rule would be for NOAA to publish a list of export fisheries and a list of exempt fisheries and this will be published in the Federal Register within one year of the implementation of the rule. The rule is expected to be implemented by Aug. 1, 2016. NOAA will also estimate to what extent foreign fisheries are in compliance within that same timeframe.
Exempt fisheries will not need to receive a comparability finding from NOAA because their bycatch levels are already insignificant. There are three ways to qualify as an exempt fishery: if the global bycatch of the species the fishery interacts with are below 10 percent of the PBR; if the global bycatch exceeds 10 percent of the PBR, but the fishery itself accounts for less than 1 percent of that bycatch; or if the NOAA Assistant Administrator deems the likelihood that a fishery has any incidental marine mammal injury or death based on other relevant information when bycatch figures are unavailable.
Foreign governments must submit an application for a comparability finding before March 1 of the last year of the exemption period, which would be 2021. By November 30 of the last year of the exemption period, the rule directs NOAA to publish a list of the fisheries in the Federal Register that have received comparability findings and those that have been denied. In the event that a fishery is denied a comparability finding, NOAA is to state the reasons the finding was denied, specify the fish and fish products that will be subject to an import ban, and the effective date of the ban.
Before any ban is put into place, NOAA will notify the country that a fishery's standards are not in compliance and allow that fishery an opportunity to take corrective action. If that action is not taken or deemed insufficient, the import ban would be implemented.


How cool is that????

'photo: Rachael Hornsby'
'photo: Rachael Hornsby'
Tufts Lab 

Strange “gold” Largemouth Weighed-in at Quinte Series Event

The attached photo of a strange-looking “gold” Largemouth Bass was taken by one of our crew (Rachael Hornsby) at a recent Quinte Series tournament on the Bay of Quinte. Although it had a striking gold colour, the Tournament Directors agreed (correctly in our opinion) that it was a Largemouth based on other features and it was allowed to be weighed in.

On Monday, we decided to consult some of the experts in the Biology Department at Queen’s University to determine how a Largemouth could ever look like this. We thought that the explanations could provide an interesting lesson about colour in fish (& other animals) for a broader audience, so we decided to turn this into another post for our Facebook page.

The first potential explanation is that this is the result of a recessive gene present in the population (similar to blue eyes in humans). This seems unlikely because it would probably occur much more frequently if this was the case.

A better explanation is that this is the result of a rare genetic mutation. In this case, one of the genes that contributes to the normal process of colour formation in the scales has probably undergone a random mutation and is not functioning properly.

For those people that are interested in a little more detail on this topic, here is the full explanation provided by Dr Robert Montgomerie*…

“Normally, the fish scales receive incoming white light and different molecular structures convert white light to blue or yellow, which make the fish look green. In the yellow (gold) bass, it is likely that some spontaneous mutation occurred that prevented the scales from making the proper molecular structures to convert white light to blue. Without the structures that convert white light to blue, the fish looks yellow (gold) rather than green (which is what you see when blue and yellow combine). It’s not that the bass has gained a yellow pigment but rather lost the ability to produce the blue colours that make its scales look green.”

*Dr Robert Montgomerie is a Professor and Research Chair in Biology at Queen’s University. His areas of expertise include evolutionary biology & animal colouration


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Comment by Dave Nederostek on September 16, 2015 at 8:57pm

Well, I was on 56th today with a water temp of about 70. There were bait fish galore hopping out of the totally calm ocean. 


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