Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
BIRDS, TURBINES AND BURIAL GROUNDS: Email:
Jay, Any idea on when they might start to build the wind farm off Barnegat Light? … I agree with the need for cleaner fuel but what about bird strikes from the windmills? Trudy.”
With controversial questions like this, there’s always something inside me that goes wise-assed first – eventually followed by seriousness, time permitting.
Your bird strike question got me mockingly humming that semi-ridiculous Sixties protest song lyric, “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ the wind.”
I also got this urge to blurt out: What kinda dumb-ass birds can’t see a frickin’ 144-foot tall object in towering front of them?
(Oh, well, just like that I go and blow my hard-earned good standing with the Audubon Society. Now it’s only a matter of time before one of those bird-lover hit squads shows up to unmercifully pummel me with sharpened sunflower seeds.)
More seriously, the answer to your birdkill dangers from offshore wind turbines is blowin’ in the data.
Per Fish and Wildlife data, “Wind turbine rotors kill 33,000 bird annually.
33,000 a year! Sounds diabolical, right?
Fondle this finding: Domestic cats in America kill “hundreds of millions of songbirds,” per federal studies. Yes, Trudy, that hundreds – followed by frickin’ millions!
Think that sound absurdly high, oh ye cat caressers? A recent scientific study done in Wisconsin estimated that 39 million birds are annually killed by cats -- in that state alone! I’m not sure how far those dead birds would go if laid end-to-end but you’d likely need a couple tanks of gas to follow the non-bouncing birds.
But you ain’t driven nowhere yet. Incomprehensibility alert. Per the National Bird Feeding Society http://www.birdfeeding.org, “In North America, between 100 million and1 billion birds die annually after colliding with windows.” Same finding from federal studies. That’s annually. Are you kidding me? That’s enough dead birds to keep up with those discarded plastic bottles now being laid end-to-end around the planet.
A mere 80 million birds die from inadvertent poisoning, almost always manmade toxins. Our new addiction to cell phones has led to 50 million bird strike deaths a year, via run-ins with communication towers.
Now crunch the numbers – and not the birds. Those 33,000 DOA birds due to wind turbines is a bargain.
I’ll end this minor rant by going electric. A recently published study indicated that wind farms (land and sea) account for 0.3 to 0.4 fatalities per gigawatt-hour of electricity. Fossil-fueled power stations account for 5.2 fatalities per gigawatt-hour, due to habitat destruction for plants/lines and, more importantly, pollution. That’s about 10 times more fatalities from fossil-fueled energy than wind farm based electricity.
I support wind, solar and, truly, bird power.
As to when those offshore turbines might show hereabouts, the 2nd Annual Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, held in Baltimore earlier this month, featured U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar re-raving about offshore wind-power development, assuring that the Obama administration is more than ready to get the turbines turning.
Without being specific, Salazar fired up the conference by announcing the feds were about to approve some major projects. He said as many as five new leases may be arriving within a year, even sooner. "I expect we will be issuing a second offshore wind lease within months, maybe within weeks," he said.
Could Jersey be among those? Kinda likely. However, don’t go selling your oceanfront property just yet.
During the initial Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, held last year, Salazar signed the first commercial offshore wind power lease for the Cape Wind company. That company plans on building 130 wind turbines, 144 feet tall, off Nantucket Sound.
Expectedly, the Cape Wind project ran headlong into a windstorm of resistance and controversy. The first blow came via political opposition from the late Ted Kennedy, who was candid in admitting the turbines could obstruct the ocean view from his Hyannis Port compound. Naturalists played the dead-bird card (see above). Far and away the most spirited resistance came from the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Martha's Vineyard. Those Native Americans swore up and down that the bases of the proposed turbines would desecrate tribal burial sites, which submerged way back. Hmmm, that’s gonna be a tough one. I say offer them a casino.
As for the likely-soon wind turbines off Jersey, I’m not sure about any sacred burial sites but I can assure that oceanfront view-mongers and data-challenged bird-huggers will be blowing their tops as final plans are made.
WIKIPEDIA’S CAUSEWAY CRASH: I’m a Wiki-ite of the highest order. I’m attracted to the on-line encyclopedia Wikipedia like a moth to a truck grill.
The information from so-called Wikipedians, who fill this massive data-center, is so informationally entertaining, I couldn’t care less if it’s actually factual.
Take, for instance, the portentous Wiki segment about our Dorland J. Henderson Memorial Bridge, more often called “the Causeway” – though Wikipedia authoritatively states that calling it “the Causeway” is “technically inaccurate.” So, it’s not an accurate causeway, eh? Well, that might very well be true-ish when absorbing Wikipedia’s read on where the inaccurately-termed Causeway is going. Hint: Don’t be idly hanging out under the Big Bridge in years to come.
Per Wiki: “It was listed as being structurally deficient in 2004, and a replacement is planned, which may possibly be completed by 2017.”
OK, so maybe I knew about that deficiency thing and efforts to replace the bridge by 2017 but Wiki adds true drama to the situation by noting, “… Residents (hope) that the bridge will be replaced since the current one is in a badly decaying state, is thought to be unrepairable, and could collapse, if not replaced on time.”
Whoa, Wiki dudes.. And here I thought I was pretty close to being a “resident,” after nearly five decades of LBI having passed under my flip-flops. Now, it seems the true local residents are keeping me out of the conversational loop regarding the bridge being on the edge of a “collapse.” They’re probably keeping the upcoming cave-down secret -- so they can be the last ones off. Thank-you, Wikipedia. And I’m leaving my email address so you can alert me to arriving tsunamis. Damn locals won’t be telling me.
BUGGY BANTER: Holgate is go-worthy as of this writing but can shutdown at the drop of a tide. Public Works’ efforts to buttress the access road are working, smalltime. Any larger winds or waves readily eat away at the soft spot where the road hits the beach. Check with tackle shops or websites (like www.jaymanntoday.ning.com) for what’s what regarding Holgate access.
It may not be overly apparent to many LBI buggyists but the sands of the Island’s 18 miles of frontbeach are simply super sound.
This fall, even chronically-eroded Long Beach Township beach zones are as wide and sandy as they’ve been in years, even decades, despite a couple big storms and loads of large surf – not to mention “king tides.” The sand soundness is all thanks to a large-scale trickledown effect from the massive beach replenishments in Surf City and Harvey Cedars.
Via littoral drift, untold tons of pumped in sand are making the long wave and tide-driven crawl to the south.
Soon, likely by next spring, the northerly part of Brant Beach will also have a sand replenishment. That material will also join the natural beach-building march southward.
That subtle trickledown sandification of LBI’s beaches is actually proving me wrong -- and I couldn’t be happier.
During the 1994 formative phase of the proposed Long Beach Island Beach Replenishment Project, I often spoke to the Army Corps brass and warned that anything short of contiguous replenishment effort (nonstop north to south -- or vice versa) would be futile. I advised that it would pissing in the wind to arbitrarily stick a big bunch of pumped in sand out into a stretch of ocean sporting some the meanest wave action on the entire Eastern Seaboard. I was quickly proven right. The first patchwork projects (Surf City, Harvey Cedars) eroded away in a littoral heartbeat. Pumping here-or-there, -- no contiguous rhyme or reason -- seemed nonsensically ineffective.
Then the trickledown began.
Ship Bottom beaches built up, thanks to Surf City; North Beach, thanks to Harvey Cedars. More sand pumped onto Surf City, more trickledown sand in the system. It hs reached way south.
It sure seems to me that the trickle-down effect from just a few fragmented replenishments might very well be able to buildup – albeit slowly -- ALL Island beaches south of Harvey Cedars. Who woulda thunk it?
Remember, the feds are legally obligated to the replenishment for decades to come. They’ve already re-replenished Surf City after the round-one sands went missing -- through buggyists know where it is. The “re”s will just keep coming.
Sadly, Beach Haven might be a tad too far south to quickly entertain any sand from the likes of Surf City. That borough’s south end is in dismally eroded condition, as is the Beach Haven Inlet section of Holgate, Long Beach Township. That zone now hosts the most badly eaten beaches on LBI. Still, some B.H. beachfront homeowners refuse to sign over their easements, blocking the way for replenishment.
Beach Haven Inlet, on the other hand, is ready to rock but doesn’t have the clout for a private replenishment. That is personally painful. I fully believe that once Beach Haven Inlet is loaded up with millions of tons of sand – and Beach Haven concurrently gets doubly loaded up – the now nearly-gone sections of Holgate will rebuild faster than South American natives eat piping plover shish kabobs.
Sidebar: Some timely tweaking of the replenishment program (during Jim Saxton’s time in Congress) will allow any beach replenishment of Beach Haven Inlet to extent past the parking area’s “wooden jetty” and down to the Wildlife area signs -- about to the submerged jetty. Man, would that get Holgate Wilderness Area back to its old self in nothing flat. The plovers would flourish – and those native would salivate.
HAIRY HOOK STARTER SECTION: If you’re thinking about tying your own bucktailed hooks for plugs and teasers, take it from the experts: less bucktail is best – and long is strong.
Trying to wad on way too much hair -- all too common in homemade efforts, loses all the good things a flowing bucktail can add to a plug.
It is actually far easier for the likes of a bluefish to rip asunder an uncomely clump of bucktail, as opposed to doing in a discrete batch of tightly bound, resined-in strands of hair. Once just a few strands come out of a clump of tied bucktail, the pressure holding in the rest is lost. Hair aweigh. A good bucktail tie has strands breaking off individually, never becoming unwound.
Another mistake DIYers make when tying their own is not concealing the clipped ends of the bucktail, adjacent to the hook eye. Those clipped ends of bucktail should be wound over with thread, then glued. It looks awful when there is a cluster of exposed hair ends by the hook eye. What’s more, it can even ruin the sway of the long trailing hairs during retrieve.
The biggest benny of a hairy bucktailed hook is the way blues and bass sure seem less nervous about taking a solid swipe at a plug with an enticingly sashaying tail end, especially when compared to menacing bare-metal hook.
Last Friday in Holgate, I was plugging the back cut to no avail -- until I switched over to a smaller jointed Red Fin with bucktail. The blues instantly went bonkers over it. Another fellow showed and had no luck with a bare-tailed popper. He switched over to bucktailed popper and quickly caught three nice tailor blues. Putting hairy tails on a plug sure seems to make a difference.
MY FUZZY FLOWERY SIDE: I just received my annual bulbous CARE package from fishing cohort and Holgate-ist Tim Schipper.
Like many/most anglers, there’s a whole other side to Tim after the buggy is rinsed and the waders come off.
Tim a Connecticut horticultural artist who works in as dynamic a color medium as one can imagine: tulips. His company is duly named Colorblends. It was recently described as “one of the best kept secrets in the gardening world.”
If you’re among the Island’s overgrowth of gardeners, just check out Tim’s blooming artwork at colorblends.com. It comes from being a third-generation bulb-master, dating back to his family’s Netherlands roots.
I get Tim Schipper originals as bagged art-to-be: onion-esque bulbs with unborn colors encapsulated inside. It might be called bury-able art. I’ll see the final piece next spring.
I bring all this up since I sometimes take off my waders, too. And despite my muddy backbay roots and outback obsessions, I’ve also developed this thing for, well, flowers and growy stuff. (Go ahead and smirk – and see how fast that smirk bolts when you find an ill-tempered black rat snake has magically found its way into your mailbox.)
RUN-DOWN: Striped bass are in the house – but hardly straining the system. Since last Friday, we’ve seen a scattering of weigh-worthy fishing for the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic (www.lbift.com). Speaking of which, there are still six weeks left in this fall surf fishing classic. The biggest and money-est hookups are yet to be entered, so get aboard the beach.
The weather is about to approach autumnal perfection, with some cool hitting here by the weekend, just in time for the Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club’s 13th Annual Striped Bass Derby, all tackle, all boat bass tournament, taking place October 28th, 29th and 30th. See www.seashellclub.com.
Here’s an email showing what’s out there for the Derby. “Early this morning, Monday, Mark and I went out for a quick fishing event at Mark's Secret Spot in the Bay. … On our 2nd drift, dropped my line in the water (using spot), got a hard, quick hit and off we went. Mark said I had a "big one". Right. Heard that before. Couldn't reel it in, the fish was taking the line out so fast, was afraid the line would break. Using light tackle (20 lb test). Saw this monster rolling on the surface. Took close to 20 minutes to wear out the big one. Finally pulled it in. Couldn't believe it! Final size/Weigh in: 47" and 40 Lbs.
… Planning on entering the Sea Shell Striped Bass Derby this coming weekend, its' a shame I didn't catch this one then.”
As for beachfront hookups, there was a goodly showing of stripers at the scales on Saturday. In the Classic, we had half a dozen weigh-ins, including a 37.31 caught in the evening by Joe Romano of LBT. He caught it in Holgate. Also outta Holgate was a 28-pounder taken by Mike Robey, Medford. Edwin (Edwin?) Youse, NC, took a 17. 50 on the South End. Of course, word has it that Youse’s fish had a suicide note attached to it.
Surfcasting-wise, bunker has been the meat of choice. However, one weigh-in bass went for a kingfish head (a bait frequently used in other non-Jersey fishing locales) and another top fish bit on butterfish.
I can speak to the utter hooking excellence when using fresh butterfish, which has been taken by netters looking for big (bait) bunker. Mongo bluefish go nuts for butterfish. I usually get two chunks out of a good-sized butterfish.Oddly, the nearshore bunker balls aren’t overly present. Here’s a report from Walt P.: “Fished this AM. Ran north almost to the bathing beach looking for bunker. Nothing. Came back to the inlet and ran down along the beach to lower Loveladies and still no bunker. Had a couple of spots and worked the north jetty along with another 15 boats. Bluefish ate one and rock snags claimed the others. Called it a day. WP.”