Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
The Fish Story
LOUSY LAWS – AND ONE THAT SHOULD BE: Growing up I was an odd kid. Who woulda guessed, right? I hated comics. They were far too complicated, with one glowing exception: an oft-hidden comical gem called “There Oughta Be a Law” – a satirical collection of hilariously out-there situations in life that mockingly beg some sort of legal recognition.
Here are some NJ laws of dubious necessity:
Sadly, the state of NJ took the daily “There Oughta Be a Law” panel far too seriously, by literally codifying it. Many of the state’s overflow of laws have illustrative “There Oughta Be a Law” comic strip panels inserted into the law books, you know, just to qualify why the laws were created.
New Jersey’s dominant law foundation is: “You are assumed guilty until proven even guiltier.”
Boy, that little rant felt good, though it is merely a languishing lead-in to a more serious issue. It’s a counterintuitive preamble to a desperate need for yet another law hereabouts, LBI issue. It focuses on a pedestrian sector gone bad.
My suggested law: If, in the act of either accessing or egressing the Long Beach Island beach zone, and while crossing roadways and other paved areas of vehicular traffic, any subject purposefully and wontedly pushes a baby stroller in which no baby is being transported, but, instead, said stroller is laden with sundry beach gear placed in such a way as to simulate the transport of an infant, this being done for the purpose of soliciting favorable and more immediate stop responses from vehicles on aforementioned roadways, a subject shall be guilty of a crime heretofore termed deceptive and misleading strollering.
It shall become the responsibility of law enforcement agencies to determine, most likely during the execution of regular patrol duties, if a stroller is truly being used to transport infants and other forms of adolescencey, or, if it is being covertly utilized in a manner meant to deceive the motoring public into believing that there are infants and other forms of adolescencey within the stroller.
The pusher of a stroller being used in an illusory manner shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree and, as such, punishable by fines and imprisonment common to such a class of violations, including, but not limited to, life without parole.
BAD, BAD BEAN!: The most crazed canine I’ve ever come across was, not surprisingly, a Chihuahua, named Bean. This was in Mexico City.
I don’t care if Chihuahuas were the royal pets of the Mayans. They are highly inclined to what might be called mini mutt madness.
Bean was a beloved part of a wealthy family in La Zona Rosa section of El Cuidad, where I was a college student – and moonlighted as a (damn good) English tutor.
Bean was berserk. That’s a given. The minute I walked into the beyond-comely home of the Cabrera family, the hand-sized canine became hallucinatory, instantly envisioning himself as a world-class mongoose – and my pant leg, a coiled king cobra.
That khaki-haired bugger would latch onto my cuff and shake his head, as if making a cobra smoothie. At the same time, Bean would issue these hauntingly humanesque squeals, akin to someone having a bullet removed without anesthesia.
Without fail, Bean would be savagely attacking my pant leg when the always debonair matriarch of the homestead, Doña Cabrera, would be regally led to the door by one of the maids. Dog noises a-flow and fangs a-cuff, I would always somehow muster an unruffled, “Hello, Doña Cabrera. How are you doing today?”
“Estoy bien, Senor Mann. Oops. I mean, berry well thank-you berry much mister, sir.”
“Uh, I think we gotta work on that greeting a bit today, Doña.”
By this time, this maniacal mutt is literally swinging back and forth on my pant leg. Yet, not one syllable of Bean-directed correction or admonition comes from Mrs. Cabrera.
Next would arrive granddaughter Paulina Cabrera, a beautiful, immaculately shod, absurdly rich classmate of mine. She was fully Americanized and therefore highly accessible to me – linguistically speaking.
“Paulina, the frickin’ Bean is at it again! This dog is missing in the cabeza.”
Her response was a million-dollar smile, a quaint feather-grip handshake and a mild-mannered, “Oh, he just wants a little attention.”
“Attention!? You could zap Bean with a cattle prod to where tiny lightning bolts come out his ass and he’s still not gonna calm down.”
Making matters worse, the mini mutt’s doorway attacks weren’t just a foyer frenzy. Bean held on like a pint-sized pit bull even as I walked down the well-appointed hallway, through the Chinese-vased atrium and into the family’s palatial reading room, where we held our class.
That Mayan mutt mighta weighed a mere two pounds soaking wet but the instant I commenced to walking from the doorway, he would anchor his boney legs on the hallway’s museum-grade, Middle Eastern area rug and somehow managed to drag the frickin’ twenty-foot-long, hand-knotted, vegetable-dyed runner along for the ride.
To keep the gathered rug from tripping the legs of nearby art display podiums, I’d have to high-step enough to lift Bean clean off the ground. This would intensify his head shaking and amplify his squealing to an ungodly pitch. At the same time, the maid would nonchalantly step in to straighten the rug behind us. This was obviously a common household event.
But that is only half the Bean story; after all, this is my most crazed canine of all time, including rabid models.
When I finally sat down on a luxury “instructor’s couch,” the dog’s insane behavior would finally get acknowledged by Paulina. She would tell me, very matter of factly, to simply pick Bean up.
Oh, really? Just reach down with a heavily nerve-ended hand and grasp this infuriated, saliva-toothed little monster?
Bizarrely, the instant my hand went under that furry, rat-sized fiend, its body went limp. I’d pick him up like so much cotton.
Sure enough, El Loco Mutto really did just want attention.
If only it had ended with Bean being picked up and held.
Once a-lap, Bean commenced with a truly repugnant licking attack. He licked at my hands as if I had sirloin juice oozing out my pores. These were not lazy, retriever-type licks but maniacally energized lappity, lappity lap, lap, lappity, lappity lap. It was if the dog was the result of a freak encounter between a Chihuahua and a horny hummingbird. Thank goodness the dog had been neutered or who knows what.
If it was hard conversing when Bean was clamped down on my pant leg, it was neigh impossible to instruct while those slobbering tonguings were nosily taking place. This dog was not right – in so many ways.
But I had a savior in the quite-large form of Bernardo Cabrera, Paulina’s brother. This guy was scary big; a world-class soccer player turned coach
If I could muster even an ounce of sympathy for psycho Bean, it came upon seeing the tiny dog’s reaction to Bernardo. If Bean so much as heard Bernardo’s footsteps approaching, he wouldn’t just depart, he’d explode from the immediate premises. One time, in the kitchen, Bernardo suddenly came in and Bean got so freaked he could only run in place on the highly-polished marble floor – black gumball eyes in full-terror mode, legs spinning like a Dremel tool, but not gaining so much as an inch of forward progress. In pity, I finally had to lift him up and walk him to the rugged hallway, his legs still frantically pumping. I placed him on the rug and he took off like an overwound windup toy. Gone!
Bizarrely, miniscule Bean was actually massive Bernardo’s dog. Hell, this guy looked like he should have a woolly mammoth as a pet.
It was Bernardo who essentially allowed me to get the upper hand over Bean.
During visits, I would obligingly allow Bean the Terrible to attack my pants. I would then sportingly haul him down the hall and through the atrium, performing our rug-pulling, maid-evoking trick. I’d also gently lift Bean onto my lap. Then, to show due respect to this fine aristocratic family (and they were great folks), I even allowed Bean the Lapper a tad of tongue time. Then, at my own discretion, I’d semi-cruelly lean down and whisper in Bean’s ear, “Bernardo.” Bam! Bean was a laptop memory. Vanished. Doña Cabrera would say, “Lo extraño, (how strange).” Paulina would just throw me this semi-disapproving, sideways glare. I’d swallow a chuckle.
Astoundingly, Bean lived to be 19 years old!
MY POSSESSED AC: I’m pulling my air conditioner out of my bedroom window this week. May mellow, open-window air flow freely well into fall.
By the by, that AC unit and I are close. It has been a soldier, having been stored at floor level during Sandy. In my house, you didn’t want to be stored at floor level during Sandy.
The up side is it survived the Superstorm. The down side is it sounds it, having taken on enough water to sink a frigate – whatever the hell a frigate is.
When it’s in the cooling mode, it offers something akin to a gurgling and bubbling sound, though like no known gurgling or bubbling sound. I think it might be possessed.
On nights when I can’t sleep, the unit discharges these odd, disenfranchised, voice-like sounds. It’s seemingly saying either, Help, my coils are drenched, or, Poorer than expected third-quarter earnings.
That “third-quarter earnings” thing is a stunner – and near irrefutable evidence of the paranormal since Sandy hit right about the time those corporate earnings reports were being announced. If that doesn’t make you believe in the paranormal, nothing will – except maybe the new series “The Ghost Inside My Child,” on Bio.
“Hello. This is the Bio Channel, right? Good. Thanks for taking my call. I don’t actually have a child with a ghost inside, but I’m damned near positive there’s a ghost inside my air conditioning unit. … Hello? Anyone?”
RUNDOWN: Fluking is still the call – and the call is wild. Simply put by Josh at Viking Outfitters, BL, “The bay is loaded with fluke.”
Per Josh, the prime tide for fluking the north end is outgoing. Killies and white GULP are the best coaxing agents.
What’s more, there are already bass to be had off High Bar Harbor “Dike,” northern end section. Some keepers there. That bass presence makes sense as bait is mustering thereabouts. Bigger bass are still north – and even just to the south, in deeper water.
The north end is also hosting those big, fat weakfish, bayside and within the inlet. They love good old Fin-S Fish – in many colors, though pink or white seem to be favorites. While we can’t really keep sparklers, weakies are not just an incredible fighter but also a looker when landed. Their colors shine when they’re riled like that. They are truly a prime catch-and-release species.
Bluefish are showing along the beach, scantily. DYK: In Africa, where bluefish just like ours are highly sought after as foodstuffs, the natives on the continent’s west coast call them shad and on the east coast they call them, weirdly, elf. Anywhere that the two bluefish-naming factions overlap, they have huge wars over the name and wipe out just about the entire human population, much to the delight of the elf shad blues.
Elsewhere around LBI, the fluking is front page, not so much for the numbers – and there are often more shorts than can be counted – but the growing number of doormats. This showing of big-ass fatties makes sense when looking at how long our strict conservation efforts have now been in place – and the fact summer flounder grow like the dickens. I have well over a dozen reports of fluke of six pounds and larger. They’re coming from boats and beaches.
Chatting with the Captain’s Quarters bait and tackle shop – formerly Oceanside Bait and Tackle – the shop saw two fatties over seven pounds weighed in – caught in the surf! They went for live spot.
A SPOT FOR SPOT: Spot can be taken on small hooks and bait. Far more easily, they can be caught with a cast net thrown into bay areas, or even near jetties.
These hearty fish are easier to keep alive than bunker or herring. Still, they need oxygen and also frequent water changes. They do great in boat live-wells.
Unlike bunker and herring, spot work quite well even when on their last leg, i.e. barely moving.
While I’ve had absolutely no luck using spot as chunk bait, I caught hell when I once wrote that they aren’t great chunked. You can decide.
By the by, I have swam spot tons of times and I’m always amazed at how small a fluke will latch onto even a larger spot. As noted in the past, I landed a maybe 14-inch fluke that had grabbed a huge spot and couldn’t – or wouldn’t – spit it out before I hauled it into the boat. I bring that up to show you can toss out even larger spot if you have a hankerin’ for doormats. I’m still not sure whether it’s better, when fluking, to hook a large spot through the mouth, back or tail.
While fluking sharpies remain gung-ho on using live spot, a goodly number of doormats are taking the simplest of offerings, including a 7-8 to M.K. It went for a “small” white jig, white hair and with a small white plastic curly, meant for weakfish. Believe it or not, M.K. was going to release it except it inhaled the jig. He was on his last fishing excursion until October and was about to leave the Island for the city. He gave the massive fish to an angling neighbor who was understandably ecstatic – and was the one who sent me an email about the hookup.
The blowfishing remains insane-ish. One angler had over 300 in a week’s stretch.
Kingfishing is picking up, as it usually does this time of year. Whereas kingfish are spread out during summer – though often tightly packed in a good feeding zone – they now school.
Mullet are doing their customary short-hop sprints along the beach. Batches of them will break from the muster zone and head south along the surfline. However, instead of keeping on with their swim south, they’ll turn bayward at the next inlet and hang there, sometimes for weeks.
Remember, these young-of-year mullet have absolutely no idea where they’re going – or even what they’re doing. Instinct is very poor at explaining itself. To them, a swim from Barnegat Inlet to Beach Haven Inlet might seem the whole migratory shebang. It’s when they get inside BH Inlet and the weird urge to go south returns that they realize there’s way more to this migratory thing than meets the eye.
HOLGATE HAPPENINGS: Holgate is very accessible – for the time being.
The drive onto the Holgate beach is a breeze, as is the entire drive to the end and over to the back cut. However, a couple astronomically high tides or a decentish storm will surely narrow the driving zone. Also, the exit near the parking lot can get very loose with weekend traffic.
Currently, you can buy your LBT/Holgate permit, handing over $50. But, the window sticker itself will be mailed out to you at later date. You must keep/possess the paperwork as proof of purchase.
I’d like to say the fishing is fine on the Holgate end but short of some fluke, a few cocktail blues and a here/there kingfish, it’s sorta slow. I haven’t gotten any word about by-caught sharks near the Rip, where major sharks patrol at night and go for the big baits you throw out there for black drum.
Per usual, west winds mean black flies in Holgate. However, it seems it might be a dismally prime year for these speedy and despicable leg-biters. Sprays really don’t work against them. Loose clothing – including long pants – can sometimes help a tad. When black flies are packed in like sardines, you just about have to abandon the beach.