Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
The Fish Story
CROSSERS ROCK: It’s sorta spooky to see how the last upper-level sands are draining out of the summer egg timer. In fact, meteorological summer ends on Sept. 1. The Weather Service equates summer as running between June 1 and Sept. 1. Those dates are actually very close to the informal “tourism summer,” running Memorial Day to Labor Day. Astronomical summer, June 22 to Sept. 21, is just a planetary day-length thing that really doesn’t align very well with our lifestyle.
That said, it’s the perfect time for me to give a thumb’s up to the pedestrians of LBI. I’m serious as all get-out.
Catering to an OCD drive train that steers my every turn, I dedicated Summer 2013 to enthusiastically – and, admittedly, obsessively – stopping my large red truck for pedestrians. I’m talkin’ really stoppin’. If I eyed a walker so much as remotely considering crossing the road, I decelerated. Sure, I sometimes drew side stares of suspicion, as I inched along adjacent to the walker, smiling in anticipation, while staring at that person’s every step. I did foster an occasional, “I got the cops on my speed dial, mister.”
It got to the point that if I drove past some strollers then saw them in my rearview mirror getting ready to cross, I’d hit my brakes and back up real fast to get past them so I could then move forward to politely stop for them. It’s like accidently blowing a red light then stopping at the next green light to make up for it. OCD can be fun – and a tad dangerous.
Anyway, I’m stopping for road-crossing pedestrians like never before and I’m lovin’ every stopped minute of it. I kid you not.
Being too often isolated in my capsule-sized editorial office at The SandPaper, my interplay with the public has been reduced to fielding phone calls and emails from folks either ecstatic or pissed off over something. These contacters are faceless. (I’ve yet to master Skype, nor do I care to, considering the faces I’m sure I exhibit when fielding any number of truly dumbass calls.)
Anyway, the reason I’m so danged high on road crossers is the fact that virtually all of them have faces. But there’s more. Ninety-nine percent of them wave to me for stopping.
They like me. They really like me.
I even get spontaneous waves from little kids, looking innocent and oozing, “Thanks for not running us over like possums. When we grow up, we wanna be just like you, Mister Stopper.” Damn straight you do, kids.
I always wave back and get a warm, fuzzy, friendly feeling inside … right before I jump out of my truck to slap the nose ring clean off the punk driver behind me who just flipped me the bird for stopping every block for pedestrians.
Seriously, thanks for the worthy show of gratitude displayed by virtually every pedestrian I’ve stopped for.
I’M MELTING: Our planet is melting, but what that means to us, in real time, remains up in the air, literally.
If you’re a denizen of this column, you know I foster huge doubts about the efficacy of those predicting exactly when the sea will rise to the poignant point of actually overflow our given duplexes and ranchers. Face it, sea risingists have been dead wrong to this point. Their haughty retort: Predicting sea rise is an inexact science.
Does anyone know what an oxymoron is? You in the back. Correct. It is a contradiction in terms, like jumbo shrimp and clearly confused. And clearly confused is apropos to an oxymoronic term like inexact science. Scientists want us to abandon the coast based on something they know virtually nothing about. Hell, some major ports around the world have actually shown a slight decrease in average sea heights over the past decade.
A recent WTF! moment for me came via an iceberg expert who gave me a surprise phone call from frickin’ Reykjavik, Iceland – the most northerly capital in the world. Hey, a call from Iceland is quite cool to me. Pun intended.
This traveling researcher is as freaked as the next icebergologist about the catastrophic melting of the ice caps, but he is attributing the lack of rapid sea rise to, possibly, the amount of air in bergs, the way cold water sinks to the pressurized sea bottom, and – the biggie – oceanic evaporation.
It’s on that evaporation subject he and I clicked.
The well-documented rising of ocean surface temperatures, along with escalating global air temps, means the sea is lifting into the air, so to speak. The sky is getting thicker and meaner, high on evaporation steroids.
While I’m the antithesis of a doomsdayist, I’ve been columnistically warning that oceanic evaporation will knock us for a loop far sooner than a quantifiable worldwide sea-rise. Sandy, by my thinking, was something of a harbinger of killer evaporation hitting the atmospheric fan.
And it’s not just coastlines needing to ready for unprecedentedly wild and wicked weather. Moisture mugged air currents circumnavigate the globe, eventually leaking into every crack and crevice of the planet. There’s no escaping the impacts of super-saturated air whisked along jet streams. A rattled atmosphere is an equal opportunity ravager.
To be sure, we are already getting rocked by weatherly rowdiness. It’s not just me saying this. Crunching recent statistics, the group Environment America reports, “An analysis of more than 80 million daily precipitation records from across the contiguous United States reveals that intense rainstorms and snowstorms have already become more frequent and more severe. Extreme downpours are now happening 30 percent more often nationwide than in 1948. In other words, large rain or snowstorms that happened once every 12 months, on average, in the middle of the 20th century now happen every nine months. Moreover, the largest annual storms now produce 10 percent more precipitation, on average.”
COUNTERINTUITIVE: I’m not a huge fan of beach replenishment. You heard right.
Despite being one of the most outspoken supporters of widening our beaches and hiking our dunes, it pains me to see the Island’s famed surfing sites and fishing jetties fall beneath pumped in sand.
I dedicated the largest chunk of my prime life period to waveriding and fishing. It’s tough taking the high road, thinking in terms of protecting everyone on LBI – essentially saving the Island for the next generation of users, including future anglers and waveriders.
Every year that LBI gets shored up with dredged sand, millions of people get to enjoy the beaches. Business-wise, thousands and thousands of folks make enough Island money to support families, or earn college tuition.
As to the idiocy that beach fixes are waste of money, for every million spent to pump sand, tens of millions are made in shoreline-related profits. Those who somehow equate that with wasting money surely failed both math and economics math, miserably. I don’t think they did well in Compassion 101 either.
But here’s what spooks me the most: If I were to fight replenishment to simply save my waves or fishing sites, I wouldn’t be a maggot s*** better than the easement holdouts – screwing the welfare and safety of the others, the majority, for fully personalized interests. I can’t do it in good consciousness.
SOUTH END SCREW-OVER: As of now, Holgate’s famed beachfront will apparently not be reopened for buggies until Oct. 1. This is not based on the Forsythe Refuge but on Long Beach Township officials, led by Mayor Joe Mancini. Apparently public usage in the Holgate area is too high to allow buggying there during September.
The folly in this nonsensical belief is the fact that hikers and buggyists can both easily use the beachfront, as we have for decades. Unconsidered: Disabled vets – and we have a number of them who use Holgate – can’t fish the south end without buggies. There is absolutely no need to exclude any user group from this wonderful area.
Ponder point, Joe: What happens on lousy weather days, low-use cloudy days or nights? No one uses the beach for Joe’s sake? What’s more, how many walkers go all the way to the end, the famed fishing Rip? More than the number of anglers that go there? Bull! There’s something very illogical here on Joe’s part, if not sinisterly so.
Economically, the lost south end business from no-show buggyists is hardly the way to foster faith in the new Joe-supported LBI Chamber of Commerce. If need be, we might retaliate in that direction. I don’t think I have to clue anyone in on the huge post-season economic impact of anglers. Mess with them this year and you’re messing with the making or breaking of many seasonal businesses. Got that, Joe?
Worst of all, this is a royal kick in the balls for LBI’s fishing tradition. It was bad enough when the Holgate beach was closed for summers, now to take away that vital first month, when fishing and cruising is at its best…
I remind: Fluke season runs until Sept. 15 and I have no doubt fluking will be amazing in Holgate.
The Forsythe Refuge, on the other hand, issued a statement that the far south end will be open to buggies on Sept. 1 but warns that serious considerations must be given to erosion areas (inaccessible at higher tides) and also fencing placed around late-nesting least terns.
Obviously, the township’s Oct. 1 start date for driving into Holgate will not allow permits to be issued when the refuge first opens.
Further, LBT will only open Loveladies and Brant Beach for buggies after Oct 1. The rest of LBT will seemingly be closed. Could this be the township trying to subversively garner wrath at the beachfront replenishment holdouts? Possibly, but it’s the exact wrong way to go when seeking support. Anglers can sink a lot of things when pissed.
For now, Mayor Mancini’s phone: 361-1000, extension 6689.
Be fully advised, the refuge is NOT the ogre in this. I’ve talked with officials there and they are far more understanding of mobile fishermen than LBT.
Here’s the Edwin B. Forsythe press release regarding Holgate. Obviously, the points are moot if we can’t drive on.
ATTENTION HOLGATE BEACH DRIVERS!
HURRICANE SANDY MADE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THE HOLGATE BEACH THAT WILL AFFECT YOU.
Be aware of changes to the beach profile that will make it impossible to drive back and forth to the tip of Holgate at higher tides.
Depending on conditions, there may only be a window of 2 to 4 hours around low tide to access the tip of Holgate.
Even before or after high tide, there may be sections of beach front where the water reaches the dune vegetation.
Driving in the dunes is illegal and dangerous due to stumps of vegetation and soft sand.
Do not drive in areas posted as closed.
Be aware that Hurricane Sandy may have left debris hazards on or under the sand.
RUNDOWN: The overall fishing pressure this past weekend really fell off. I’m guessing it might be fall cleaning – and readying the pack for a return to school.
Many a churchgoing angler I talked to on Sunday want to fish this coming fall but must wrench time from home repair duties left over from Sandy, including, for some, big moves such as house raisings and deep-rooted remodeling. Many ground-level units of duplexes were left in the lurch last spring, to get upstairs units through the summer.
I bring up this longwinded Sandy factor since it makes for a real tough read on how Fishing Fall 2013 will play out.
The weakfishing in the bay, though not on the keeper schedule of most folks due to the regs, has gotten very hot. A bit unusual is the number of midsized models, i.e. not tiderunners but well over legal-sized – if legal-sized were legal. This time of year it’s usually spike central out there. If you know The Dike, give it some late-day fly time. I’ll be toying bayside after dark tonight. Ideal (small) artificials tossing conditions expected.
Fluking has been so good for one fellow that his sizable “winter freezer” is maxed out with fillets. “It looks great in there, but I’ll bet I won’t want to see another piece of fluke by the end of winter,” he said, noting he used to go half fluke and half tog and sea bass in the freezer. “I was doing Sandy repairs so I couldn’t get out to the wrecks this past spring.” Coolly, his wife goes bananas by putting up shelves and shelves of veggies and fruit preserves; easily 100 jars at a pop. Her pickling is beyond belief. Having recent Scandinavian heritage, she uses a pickled herring approach to putting up her veggies. It works to the max. She used to pickle Boston macks to die for, before the nearshore spring fishery quietly died.
Small bluefish, snappers to cocktails, are plentiful when found. They are not a sure bite by any stretch. Barnegat Inlet seems to always hold them.
Oddly, striped bass are being readily seen when folks are diving on jetties and groins but can be a bitch to attract to bait or artificials.
A small group of divers has gotten more and more folks jumping in the water to eye the rocks with mask and snorkel. Many newbies are amazed at how much marine life can be seen out and about on a clear day.
Back in the ’70s, I snorkeled the Barnegat Inlet rocks to collect lures and hundreds of pounds of lead sinkers. I was going to use the sinkers for fishing but after the 5,000th one most went to the smelter.
I had a late-day, first-cast 28-inch bass in Ship Bottom using a jig. After that, nary a bass touch. Kinda typical for a summer “resident” fish population. I also had two miniscule fluke before sundown.
FINAL COLUMN KERNEL: I recently took part in a national study about personal finances. I ostensibly did it to help a prestigious institute garner a scientific read on the American economy. Closer to my core, I thought I’d be getting a free T-shirt and my very own handheld foreclosure test kit. It turned out that only every 15th participant received freebies. Apropos to a financial study, I should have read the small print.
Today, I got the study’s final findings and it seems that 76 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck. Suspiciously, there was no mention of what-to-what the other 24 percent were living. What the hell are the options? “I don’t live paycheck to paycheck. I live full-moon to full-moon.” Say what?
It somehow feels comforting knowing that most of us are in the same leaky financial dingy. I also derive solace from the realization that there are three groups that languish in financial fear: the absurdly rich, the abjectly poor – and everyone in between.