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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

    Friday, December 06, 2013: Important fluke stuff from Paul H. below:   It seems I’ve become ground zero for reporting arriving snowy owls – and I don’t mind it at all. I have seven communiqué…

 

 

Friday, December 06, 2013: Important fluke stuff from Paul H. below:

 

It seems I’ve become ground zero for reporting arriving snowy owls – and I don’t mind it at all. I have seven communiqués about just-seen owls. Somewhat expectedly, I’m getting a few reports from sedge and mainland areas, where single owls are being seen by residents and also duck/goose hunters. No, the owls aren’t being shot. All species are protected. Truth be told, hunters are not wild about having a snowy anywhere in the vicinity. A single snowy owl perched on a piece of sedge can divert entire flocks of ducks. In fact, it was brought to my attention that the owls at the Rip in Holgate had spooked off just about every gull from that prime gull hangout zone. See http://youtu.be/u5xrBjRzdPc. Notice: Nary a gull right where they’re usually packed in.

 

If I had to take a rough shot at the number of separate snowys seen on or around LBI, I’d guess 20. Supposedly knowledgeable birders can read the distinct patterns on each juvenile owl and ID separate ones for proper counting – to which I Say “Yeah, right.”  

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FLUKE UPDATE:

All,

 

     I just wanted to let you know the latest on fluke. All the numbers I am providing you with and have provided you with in the past have been taken directly from NOAA's website.

 

     For New Jersey, the wave 4 data was recently significantly revised for fluke and this was good news for us. Wave 3 data remained the same and showed that we harvested 279,658 fluke. However, wave 4 data was changed from 1,159,303 to 730,086 fish, which resulted in a reduction of  429,217 fish. The total harvest for 2013 without the wave 5 data is now 1,009,744. Our original quota was for 977,998 fish but ASMF later approved and extra 88,000 fish so our total quota for the year ended up being 1,065,998 fish. Therefore, at the current time we are 56,254 fish under our quota but again that does not include wave 5 data. Wave 5 data is expected to be out around 12/15 and I expect it to push us over our quota. We just have to hope that it does not push us over by too much. Last year MRIP showed that 224,969 fish were harvested during wave 5 but that is far above our historical average. We will just have to keep our fingers crossed. Also, remember that the overall coastal quota is being cut for 2014. I am not certain but off the top of my head I seem to remember it being cut by 8-10%.  So overall, it seems likely we will face a reduction next year but it will not be the draconian measures that we would been forced upon us if the figures were not revised. There is also a possibility that the ASMFC could approve some extra fish for us in 2014 once all the states have set their regulations.

    Of course all of the above assumes that fluke will be managed the same way as they have been in the past and we are not changed to the regional approach  that New York Senator Charles Schumer has proposed.

 

Paul Haertel

 

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I got this email regarding backbay baitfish.

“Talked with my friend who has a lagoon house on Great Bay Blvd. He was down Wednesday night and happened to shine a spotlight down into the water in back of his house. He said the whole lagoon was alive with spearing, shrimp and small 1” plump minnows. He thought it was seaweed at first until he saw eyes looking back at him. Walt P.”

I never know what to make of “lagoon” environments.  They’re often like independent ecosystems. For instance, we can be done a mullet or peanut bunker fall migration yet folks are reporting their lagoons are still swimming with those baitfish – and a whole lot more, particularly spearing. I’ve thrown cast net in some BHW and Forked River lagoons during midwinter thaws and found mullet there, apparently holing up on the bottom for winter.

Why would fish be enticed to stay put on lagoon bottoms? My theory: It has to do with the relative stillness of the deeper lagoons and the percolating up of fresh groundwater, being geothermally warmed through what is sometimes referred to as ground-source heat.

Not that far below the surface of the earth, there is a constant, year-round temperature of about 50 degrees. Although that doesn’t seem all that hot, it is a veritable ocean of energy.  In fact, a couple decades back, researchers perfected a method of tapping into that unfailing heat energy, via ground-source heat pumps. Albeit a slow grow, private homes and businesses -- and all of Stockton College – have started taking on heating/cooling systems powered by this geothermal energy.

But back to the bait and the oddly enticing environment on the bottoms on lagoons.

By essentially digging lagoons deeply into the ground – once fairly solid ground -- the relatively warmer layer of the earth’s upper crust also comes into the equation. What you get is a highly survivable bottom environment in winter, compliments of ground energy. Admittedly, it’s far from a sauna down there – and water temps might dip into the upper 40s -- but that is still makes for fairly pleasant haunts to overwintering fish.

Significantly, that geothermal impact is not a factor in the bay itself, where top-to-bottom currents rule the winter days. Only creatures with the equivalent of antifreeze in their blood, like winter flounder, can survive NJ’s winter bay frigidity. What’s more, the icy bay impact is also why the most favorable lagoon bottoms for less winter-tolerant fishes are either the deepest or the most westward, i.e. closer to the influx of thermally-heated water.

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http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/snow-ice-to-hit-nyc-dc-a...

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