7/31/14: The winds will be light but the skies could be drab and even drippy, through Sunday. That spells ideal fishing conditions for the many who believe subdued lighting aids and abets angling However, fluke don't give a ratfish's ass about sun. They'll bite, any time any place.
I bring up fluke because they're the buzz. Successful catches have been making the photo rounds -- the photogenic ones are some fine flatties to be sure. However, the keeper/throwback ratio has been of greater note. Twenty throwbacks to one mere keeper has not been uncommon. Inlets are running hot and cold for flatties, which has been the predictable flow of things for thousands of years. Anywhere the water runs hard in one direction, grinds to halt then runs hard in the other direction is going to run hot and cold, with the best action often being when low tides give up the outflow ghosts and ocean waters begin filtering back in. But not always. Thus, we fish and try to figure it out.
I haven't heard squat about stripers. Any of you divers seeing any when working the rocks? I hope to get some sunset surfside plugging in this weekend. I might take a small white jig setup along to sniff out any schoolies. I'm bettin' the swash fluke will be more interested in my plastic -- upon jighead -- than the bass. I don't usually use teasers but after reading all the fish being taken on them, I might throw a dropper loop directly on my line and dangle a:
But, in some places:
Potential World Record NJ Fluke
Spearfisherman Tim Fiordaliso of Mount Holley, New Jersey weighed in a 33-inch 14.55-pound summer flounder (fluke) on July 27, reported Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, New Jersey. If accepted by the International Underwater Spearfishing Association (IUSA) it would become the spearfishing world record for fluke.
Fiordaliso shared the catch in the online forum The Outdoorsmen’s Voice: “I saw a decent fluke on a dive, decided to make another dive before the current moved me. I made it about 10 feet out and saw a giant sitting on the bottom. I swam up to him carefully, gun pointed the entire time, got over him and aimed for 5 seconds to ensure I wouldn’t miss… I didn’t even realize what I had shot until I got out and measured him. After deciding to go weigh him at Fishermans HQ, I really realized I had accomplished something special. I texted a buddy and he says DO NOT CUT THAT FISH UP! Well, long story short, pictures taken, documentation done, now all I have to do is my part and submit it.”
Enclosed is this week’s fishing report for the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association. It is pasted below and also attached as a file. If you have any questions, my cell phone number is 609-290-5942 and my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your help,
Jim Hutchinson Sr.
The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are enjoying the good weather at the New Jersey shore and are finding some steady action in various locations.
Captain Tim Knorr had the James Herbster party on an 8-hour tuna trolling trip recently on his boat the “William Knorr.” They boated a 65-pound bluefin tuna south of the Chicken Canyon. One of the anglers in the party hooked another bluefin as big around as a beer keg that grabbed a lure just 20-feet from the stern. Unfortunately, the fish managed to slip the hook and was lost. The hot lures on this day were all small with dark colors. Captain Tim says this is a good time for an inshore trolling trip.
Captain John Koegler of the boat “Pop’s Pride” out of Beach Haven fished Little Egg Inlet and the bay waters just inside the inlet last weekend and found some huge numbers of fluke. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the fish were throwbacks. Captain John said that the massing of the fish there indicates they are on the verge of leaving the bay for the summer. He had a party of three adults and three youngsters aboard, and the constant action made for a very enjoyable day on the water. The anglers kept the mate and Captain John busy netting and releasing fish. The party did manage to put one 23-inch fish in the cooler to take home. The fluke was estimated to be almost 2-inches thick.
Captain John Lewis had the Bednar party on the “Insatiable” on out recently fluke fishing in the inlet. Although they only managed one keeper, they boated. 30 shorts for steady action. Captain John fished the “Big Dog” in the Beach Haven Marlin Tournament. While they did not put any fish on the board, they did find a good weed line Saturday near the end of fishing. They kept fishing and picked off a dozen mahi-mahi-all, of which were caught by 13 year old Hunter Burrows and 12 year old Jonathan Kelly. These two junior mates were dropping naked Ballyhoo back on circle hooks.
Additional information on the BHCFA can be found at www.BHCFA.org.
NO ITCH AIN’T A BITCH: No buzz. I don’t get it. No, I’m not talking about the promised effects from the latest energy drink, I’m talking about mosquitoes.
I know I should keep my bloody mouth shut, lest I spoil the good luck we’ve had to date, but this summer those buzzy bloodsucking buggers are simply not showing, especially when considering the clouds of them we’ve fought off over the past few summers.
Hey, it’s not just me registering a downtick in mosquitos. Professional mosquito-fighting folks have also detected a definable drop in this summer’s skeeters. Could it be the deep-freeze we had last winter? Yes and no. We’ve had some equally deep freezes in decades past and the following summers we were so swarmed upon by mosquitoes they took to carrying off grown men -- to suck dry at a more convenient time and place.
Actually, I think I might know what’s behind this weirdish summer mosquito scarcity. It has to do with Asia – an area that doesn’t invade the world with soldiers but freely attacks with invasive species. In this heinous case, I’m taking about the massive incursion of the tiny, thoroughly savage and despicable Asian tiger mosquito (Asian mosquito).
Asian mosquitos are the black, Asianly small, manically-aggressive mosquitoes that have ravaged LBI’ers the past few years, almost to the exclusion of local brands, like our beloved saltmarsh mosquitoes. That exclusion thing plays into my theory.
As is the case with all invasive species, they displace the locals. I’m confidently conjecturing that the Asian mosquitoes have somehow reduced, even neutralized, the local mosquito population, This locals-be-gone action most likely takes place during the famed, stagnant-water, wiggler/larval phase of a mosquitos’s lifespan. The undersized Asian invaders might be numerically muscling out the locals via their intrusive physical presence, or, weirdly/possibly, by modifying the chemistry within the breeding water, making life chemically intolerable for indigenous species.
But that doesn’t explain why the Asian suckers have gone missing this year. Reenter last winter’s freeze. As noted, we’ve had way deeper freezes in the past and the following summer we were still smothered by biters. The big ecological difference back in the day was the genetically-adapted nature of localized mosquito. They had built up a resistance to wicked winters. Enter the dragon mosquitos. Last winter was the first killer freeze for the newly-arrived Asians. They froze their abdomens off and either died outright or woke up so disoriented they flew into the sun. OK, that sun-flight thing lacked science but who knows what winter-whacked nonindigenous species does when their miniscule brains have been frozen then thawed.
Oh, don’t think for one minute that Island life lounges bitelessly into the future, mosquito-free. There are still a few Asian mosquitos in Island backyards. I saw one today. It’s now deceased. A single mild winter and those prolific Asian em-effers can use just a capful of stale water to reproduce thousands of bloodthirsty progeny. And if the Asian mosquitos fail to reestablish the equivalent of a third-world nation hereabouts, our larger, equally ferocious, hometown mosquitoes will return with a vengeance -- quite pissed at being temporarily displaced … and out for blood.
But, for now, enjoy barbeques free of the overwhelming odor of large-area insect repellents or candles.
I had Fred Higginbotham of Morris Plains along with his two daughters Aidan and Alexis out on a 4-hr bay fluke charter. Although we had wind against tide conditions for a majority of the trip, the trio managed to pick a couple of keepers out of the relentless shorts. The S&S BigEye and Rattletail 1/2-oz bucktail was the key to the keeper fluke. This was the girls first-ever fishing trip on a boat - nice job!!! The fluke were 18" and 19.5".
The Beach Haven Police are looking to identify these two individuals. If you have any information, please call (609) 492-0505
or email Ptl. Boehler at email@example.com
Latest batch. Sand eels imitations. 6 inches long with an internal weight transfer system like a Daiwa Salt Pro minnow.
Nice way to finish a day after 8 hours behind a mower. Shot with a polespear.... guns are cheating....
Going overnight hunting the deep on the KATHERINE ANN... See y'all tomorrow for dinner;-))
This trail-cam photo was not far off, in Pa. A cat like this was seen in NJ, last year, per a very reliable source -- fearful of putting hunters onto its trail.
New Magnuson draft would allow sustainability label for all well managed US Fisheries
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton - July 30, 2014
Senators Begich and Rubio have released the latest draft of the Magnuson reauthorization bill, and one provision would codify the right of sellers to use the description "sustainable' in marketing fish caught under an approved management plan.
This has been a key contention for some marketers of US fish, who argue that the success of the US scientific management, which is resulting in ending overfishing, and rebuilding US fish stocks, is a legitimate basis to make a valid sustainabiity claim. In short, the legal requirement of Magnuson results in a sustainably managed stock when that stock is no longer subject to overfishing, or is overfished.
There are reports that the Marine Stewardship Council is very concerned about this provision, which would allow a far broader group of producers to call their fish sustainable, without paying for MSC assessments, or label royalties.
Also there is some concern in some regions of the US, not with the fact that the US managed fisheries are not sustainable, but with giving the power to NOAA and the secretary to define the use of a label in this way. The language is being sought mostly by East and Gulf seafood interests, not those from Alaska and the Northwest, where they have had a longer history of marketing sustainable fish, either through ASMI and Alaska's RFM program, or through the MSC.
The language in the draft is as follows:
SUSTAINABLY CAUGHT FISH.—Section 305 (16 U.S.C. 16 1855) is amended by adding
(l) SUSTAINABILITY STANDARD. For the purpose of this Act, fish is sustainability caught if
(A) the fish is harvested in accordance with
‘‘(i) a fishery management plan prepared and approved under this Act;
or ‘‘(ii) equivalent conservation and management measures of a State or tribe, or under an international agreement to which the United States is a party, as determined by the Secretary;
‘‘(B) the fishery from which the fish is harvested is not overfished or otherwise depleted; and
‘‘(C) the overfishing or other depletion is not occurring in the fishery from which the fish is harvested.
‘‘(2) REBUILDING FISHERIES. A fishery that is subject to a rebuilding plan under this Act, or equivalent conservation and management measures as determined by the Secretary, meets the criteria specified in subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph 15 (1) if the Secretary determines that the plan is effectively rebuilding the fishery.’’.
If this language is included in the final bill, it would give seafood marketers of US domestic seafood the right to use the label "sustainable" on their packaging.
Another section of the bill is a step forward for a national seafood marketing program.
The draft asks the Secretary of Commerce to analyze the likely costs and benefits of establishing and administering a seafood marketing program to facilitate fuller realization of the commercial and economic value of U.S. fishery resources.
The program would be aimed at 1) improving public education about the sustainable development of US fisheries, and 2) enable producers to improve safety, traceability, quality, marketability and sustainability of US seafood, and 3) coordinate the education of consumers about the health benefits of seafood, and 4) look at funding the program through a combination of industry fees, contributions and donations or gifts, and revenue from fines and penalties for violations of the Magnuson act and the Lacey Act.
The funds would be apportioned to the industry as represented through the regional fishery management councils and awarded through a competitive process.
The draft requires the Secretary of Commerce to complete this report within one year.
Photo Credit: Senator Mark Begich Website
South Pacific's bigeye tuna stock is at dangerously low levels warn scientists
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Waikato Times] by Michael Field - July 31, 2014
A major South Pacific tuna fishery exploited by New Zealand commercial and recreational boats is on the verge of collapse, experts say.
South Pacific stocks of bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) are now just 20 per cent of what they would have been if left unfished.
Scientists with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) say that is an unacceptable risk.
Current catches are exceeding bigeyes' maximum sustainable yield.
Unless hard political decisions are taken next month the depletion could lead to a species collapse akin to that of North Atlantic cod.
Hundreds of fishing boats, mostly Chinese but including 11 New Zealand- flagged vessels, are scooping up adult bigeye that get high prices on Japan's sashimi market.
Juveniles, usually taken as bycatch in skipjack tuna fishing, are used in the low-value canning industry.
The fate of bigeye tuna will be decided at a meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in the Marshall Islands next month.
SPC oceanic fisheries programme head John Hampton says going below 20 per cent is significant.
"The WCPFC should now take firm action to reduce catches of bigeye and allow the stock to rebuild."
The organisation has struggled to curb the growing tuna fleet.
"If we want a train wreck instead of a sustainable fishery, we should keep going the way we are now," WCPFC's outgoing executive director Glenn Hurry warned this month.
Shelton Harley, who co-ordinated the scientific team undertaking the assessments, said it produced its data by incorporating more than 60 years of fisheries and biological data across the region.
Bigeyes are covered by New Zealand's quota system and are fished around the northern and eastern exclusive economic zones.
About $10 million worth of bigeye passes through New Zealand ports, not all of it fished within the EEZ.
If caught recreationally it cannot be sold.
Several large bigeye catches have been taken recently.
Paihia woman Jo Henwood caught a 132.8-kilogram bigeye northeast of Cape Karikari this year and Gisborne's Julie Dowsing caught a 102.25kg bigeye off Poverty Bay last year.
The SPC says assessments for the other tuna, skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis) and yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) are brighter.
Skipjack, which accounted for 68 per cent of the total tuna catch in 2013, is estimated to remain at about 50 per cent of unexploited levels.
That is regarded as desirable.
Yellowfin has been reduced to about 38 per cent of unexploited levels.
"While skipjack and yellowfin populations are currently OK, catches are likely at their full potential," Harley said.
More, larger fishing boats were joining the chase and stock levels were falling, he said.
"Some urgent decisions are required on limits and their allocation," Harley said. Fairfax NZ
Baltimore scientists pioneer N. America's first closed containment farmed bluefin project
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [NPR 90.9 wbru] by Dan Charles - July 31, 2014
In a windowless laboratory in downtown Baltimore, some tiny, translucent fish larvae are swimming about in glass-walled tanks.
They are infant bluefin tuna. Scientists in this laboratory are trying to grasp what they call the holy grail of aquaculture: raising this powerful fish, so prized by sushi lovers, entirely in captivity. But the effort is fraught with challenges.
When I visited, I couldn't see the larvae at first. They look incredibly fragile and helpless, just drifting in the tanks' water currents. But they're already gobbling up microscopic marine animals, which in turn are living on algae.
"It's amazing. We cannot stop looking at them! We are here around the clock and we are looking at them, because it is so beautiful," says Yonathan Zohar, the scientist in charge of this project.
It's beautiful to Zohar because it's so rare. Scientists are trying to raise bluefin tuna completely in captivity in only a few places around the world. Laboratories in Japan have led the effort. This experiment, at the University of Maryland Baltimore County's Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, is the first successful attempt in North America.
Scientists still have a long way to go to succeed. Most of the larvae have died, but hundreds have now survived for 10 days, "and we are counting every day," says Zohar. "We want to be at 25 to 30 days. This is the bottleneck. The bottleneck is the first three to four weeks."
If they make it that far, they'll be juvenile fish and much more sturdy. Then, they'll mainly need lots to eat.
Fully grown, the bluefin tuna is a tiger of the ocean: powerful and voracious, its flesh in high demand for sushi all around the world.
Journalist Paul Greenberg wrote about bluefin tuna in his book Four Fish. If you're an angler, he says, catching one is an experience you don't forget.
"When they come onboard, it's like raw energy coming onto the boat. Their tail will [beat] like an outboard motor, just blazing with power and energy," he says.
The fish can grow to 1,000 pounds. They can swim up to 45 miles per hour and cross entire oceans.
They're also valuable. Demand for tuna has grown, especially in Japan, where people sometimes pay fantastic prices for the fish.
That demand has led to overfishing, and wild populations of tuna now are declining.
That's why scientists like Zohar are trying to invent a new way to supply the world's demand. They're trying to invent bluefin tuna farming.
"The vision is to have huge tanks, land-based, in a facility like what you see here, having bluefin tuna that are spawning year-round, on demand, producing millions of eggs," he says.
Those eggs would hatch and grow into a plentiful supply of tuna.
That brings us back to these precious larvae. Before there can be aquaculture, large quantities of these larvae have to survive. Here in the laboratory, the scientists are tinkering with lots of things — the lights above the tanks, the concentration of algae and water currents — to keep the fragile larvae from sinking toward the bottom of the tank.
"They tend to go down," explains Zohar. "They have a heavy head. They go head down and tail up. If they hit their head on the bottom they are gone. They are not going to survive."
Enough are surviving, at the moment, that Zohar thinks they're getting close to overcoming this obstacle, too.
But that still leaves a final hurdle. The scientists will need to figure out how to satisfy the tuna's amazing appetite without causing even more damage to the environment.
A tuna's natural diet consists of other fish. Lots of other fish. Right now, there are tuna "ranches" that capture young tuna in the ocean and then fatten them up in big net-pens. According to Greenberg, those ranches feed their tuna about 15 pounds of fish such as sardines or mackerel for each additional pound of tuna that can be sold to consumers. That kind of tuna production is environmentally costly.
Zohar thinks that it will be possible to reduce this ratio or even create tuna feed that doesn't rely heavily on other fish as an ingredient.
But Greenberg says the basic fact that they eat so much makes him wonder whether tuna farming is really the right way to go. It increases the population of a predator species that demands lots of food itself.
"Why would you domesticate a tiger when you could domesticate a cow," he asks — or, even better, a chicken, which converts just 2 pounds of vegetarian feed into a pound of meat.
If farmed tuna really can reduce the demand for tuna caught in the wild, it would be worth doing. But it might do more good, he says, to eat a little lower on the marine food chain. We could eat more mussels or sardines. It would let more tuna roam free.
Photo Credit: NPR
Dominic Gagliardi added a new photo.
The bluefin tuna is a magnificent creature. A silvery torpedo, it grows as big as 1,000 pounds, swims as fast as cars, and survives the cold waters of the ocean, weirdly enough, as warm-blooded fish. Oh, it also happens to be pretty tasty as sushi. Thanks to our growing sushi appetites, the bluefin tuna seems likely to be obliterated off the face of the Earth unless we do something drastic—like stop eating it or, what the hell, use science to start spawning them in tanks on land.
Aquaculture has been increasingly touted as how we still feed our growing world. But the Atlantic bluefin tuna presents from real challenges—like, say, how we haven't been able to get its larvae to survive for more than a few weeks. But Yonathan Zohar, the scientist in charge of the plan to farm Atlantic bluefin, is the guy for the job. You might say he is an OB-GYN for fish, and he's already reversed engineered the reproductive cycle of one now popularly farmed fish, the sea bass.
I first encountered Zohar's name while reading Paul Greenberg's excellent book Four Fish. In it, Greenberg recounts how Zohar painstakingly picked through the brains of tens of thousands of fish for their pituitary glands to study fish hormones. The first samples back from the lab "degraded." So Zohar and his team picked through another ten thousand pituitary glands, only to get the same result.
Zohar eventually realized the samples were not degraded. Instead, a massive spike in an unknown hormone produced only during spawning had confused the lab. Eureka! Right? Not quite, as Greenberg notes, injecting this new hormone into female sea bass did nothing because an enzyme in the fish immediately broke it down. Sea bass also tend to slowly drop their eggs over days. In the end, Zohar came up with something wholly new and weird: a tiny plastic sphere of hormones implanted into fish, slowing releasing the hormone so all the sea bass spawn at once.
A bluefin tuna sold at the Tsukiji fish market in 2013. The 489 pound fish netted $1,76 million. With that kind of money, you can see the incentive to farm bluefin tuna. AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama
I mention this whole decades-old episode with sea bass to illustrate how insanely difficult it is to farm a new species. When we think about aquaculture, it's easy to think about tanks and pens and water filtration systems. But before we even build places for fish to grow, we have to figure out how to make more of them. To get bluefin tuna to spawn, scientists have tried getting scuba divers to shoot hormone implants into the fish with spear guns.
Zohar currently works at the University of Maryland Baltimore County's Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, where he's coaxing bluefin tuna larvae to survive in tanks. "The vision is to have huge tanks, land-based, in a facility like what you see here, having bluefin tuna that are spawning year-round, on demand, producing millions of eggs," he tells NPR. So far, he's only getting a fraction of larvae to survive more than 10 days. One problem is that the delicate, head-heavy larvae keep sinking head first in the tanks.
All reproductive challenges aside, bluefin tuna are also not the most logical fish to domesticate given their size and carnivorous appetites. Farming bluefin tuna would arguably be terrible for the environment as well. The tuna requires 15 pounds of fish as food to produce one pound of tuna. The real way to save the bluefin tuna without wrecking havoc on the environment may not be a technical one at all. It might just be what we don't want to hear: stop eating it.
I proudly painted those high cyclone fences ... and sent drips on about a dozen nearby parked cars. j.m.
Beach Haven has a beautiful elementary school. We are getting messages from past students about the great times they had and the impact the school had on their lives. Did you attend? What's your fondest memory?