Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Bluefishing flashback ... and stylin'  Friday, April 17, 2015: A once-in-a-while bass off the beach even though the water looks perfect. Still cold. Next week's windy nor'easter might actually hel…

Bluefishing flashback ... and stylin' 

Friday, April 17, 2015: A once-in-a-while bass off the beach even though the water looks perfect. Still cold. Next week's windy nor'easter might actually help usher in slightly warmer water. It's also perfect for blowing in larvae being carried north on the Gulf Stream. Yep, those aggravating nor'easter can offer the flow of life into Barnegat Bay. Dr. Ken Sble, Rutgers, has written some amazing papers (and a book) on the way many vital species need just the right wind help in spring. After last year's debacle of a baitfish year, here's hoping the wind works wonders this year. 

I'm offering Fisherman's HDQ report on white perch so I don't catch hell for broadcasting the info: "Mill Creek in Beach Haven West is the place to go for White Perch. If you don't have grass shrimp... no worries. They'll eat bloodworms and also hit the one inch Orange or Yellow twister tail grubs or 1" Berkley Gulp Jigging Grubs on a tiny jig head. If you want shrimp, Fisherman's Headquarters has the Fisher's Choice canned Shrimp which contains Shrimp enhanced with Excita-Scent. (Yea, it's the stuff Roland Martin recommends) These are soft baits to use and make casting difficult. They require patience to use but are very productive with that addition of the Excita-Scent. A lot of shrimp in each can but many will not be whole pieces. These are Grass or Sand Shrimp size. Catching White Perch is a lot of fun on ultra-light tackle. The bite can turn on and off like a light switch."

I'll just add onto that final "lightswitch" angle bu saying it's often that big lightswitch in the sky that matters the most. Sunset often shines. 

Below: Don't fret. This is a pic of white perch from a state where they're highly invasive.


Below: Eastern ribbon snake.

Below: Eastern garter snake


Got an email with a phone video of a snake in the BL Lighthouse area. Snakes are decidedly rare on LBI but not an impossible visitor. All snakes are astounding swimmers, able to free-swim for miles on end and equally able to ride pieces of flotsam into the next county.

I wrote back: “I watched vid a couple times and couldn't get a good read/look. I usually go with garter snakes or ribbon snakes but there were no telltale lines along the back. Could be a juvenile. Very interesting. LBI is not a snake place. I must always consider released pets, which means it could be anything. I'll go down there and look for sheds, which can sometimes help in ID'ing.”

As I told the emailer, there is always the chance of a released or lost pet snake, which means the world is the limit as to the species’ ID. It might also be a deliberate release from the BL State Park folks.

If this snake is a juvie, and an indigenous species, it could indicate an entire nest hatched thereabouts. That could get the BLSP nature walk hopping – and not in a bad way, unless the snake is a young constrictor, which could spell trouble for nesting birds.


But that’s jumping way ahead. Considering foxes are snake-eaters of the highest order, any slitherers on LBI – especially over at High Bar Harbor (Dike) -- have their survival work cut out for them. That area is LBI’s fox central, with more soon showing, as this year’s batch of kits is likely just coming into the world.  I once saw a ribbon snake – a skinny very garter-snake-like species -- at the Dike. Ribbon snakes are  masters when it comes to swimming, easily submerging underwater during escapes.  

 LBI RATTLERS: I often write about the few incidents of timber rattlesnakes being found on LBI. Those were fairly long ago (most recent 1970s) and mainly along the then undeveloped areas of Loveladies.

Below: Timber rattlesnake in common NJ hue. 

As noted, all snakes can swim well, but for a land-based non-water species of snake, the timber rattlesnake is an absolute whiz in water. It often takes to swimming as the most convenient means of getting from point A to B. I’ve seen same.

One of the recent rattlesnake bites in Jersey, down Lake Oswego way, occurred when a canoer took to toying with a rattler swimming across the lake. Such a bite is an extreme rarity, as was the preceding statement, “Quick, lets paddle over to that rattlesnake and see if we can get it to come into the canoe.” And, yes, the bitee knew full well it was a rattlesnake.

A more recent bite, to a man jumping out of a car to address a rattler crossing the road, was almost within shouting distance of the lake bite.

Here's a news story: 

Man bitten by rattlesnake he tried to move off of Ocean County road

Tomás Dinges/The Star-LedgerBy 
Tomás Dinges/The Star-Ledger 

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on June 17, 2011 at 12:45 AM, updated  June 17, 2011 at 5:41 AM

timber-rattlesnake-tuckerton-bass-river-bite-man-road.JPGLaurie Skrivan/Star-Ledger wire servicesA rattlesnake similar to the one pictured here in Eureka, Mo. bit a man who tried to move it from an Ocean County road.

TUCKERTON An Ocean County man learned today that a rattlesnake on the road best be left in peace.

The 24-year-old man was reported in stable condition last night after being bitten by a timber rattlesnake he had tried to grab by its head, said Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The man was driving on Rt. 679 near West Stage Road in Tuckerton about 6:30 p.m. when he saw the snake, said Ragonese. The driver told authorities he used a stick to pin the snake’s body, and then tried to grab its head and move it off the road, Ragonese said.

But the snake, described as an adult, squirmed free, wrapped itself around the man’s arm, and bit his hand.

"Obviously he dropped the snake, and the snake got away," said Ragonese.

That section of the Pinelands is known for having a "healthy" population of rattlesnakes, he said.

According to the website of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, the timber rattlesnake is endangered in the state, and while one of about 20 snake species in the Pinelands, it is the only venomous one in that part of the state.

Scientifically known as Crotalus horridus, the reptile ranges in size from three to nearly five-feet-long and feeds exclusively on warm-blooded prey, the group said.

Being bitten by an adult may have helped the man’s condition, Ragonese said. Young rattlesnakes use their venom to kill, while adults "temper their venom to immobilize," he said.

After being bitten, the man, whose name was not released, drove three miles to a nearby headquarters of the Bass River State Forest. He was coherent and able to function, Ragonese said, before being taken away by helicopter to a nearby medical facility for treatment.

"We feel badly for the man, but we would advise people not to try to handle rattlesnakes," he said. "It sounds like it’s obvious, but they are wild animals."

Last fall, I was shown a video of easily the largest timber rattler I had ever seen in Jersey, also from that zone. I also helped transfer a major rattler from an expanding Bass River horse farm to a safer nearby haunt.  

That part of Burlington County rocks on the rattler front.


I recently helped a fellow skin a roadkill muskrat I found in Barnegat. Mainly I watched, to get some tips. He knew his way around a muskrat. He had a permit.  Not so much so, in my case. I went back to see the end result and was blown away by the pelt. The fur was as iridescent as opal in the sun. I’m not even remotely into trapping or furring but in this recycled road kill case the final product was as gorgeous as any mink pelt I’ve seen. Even the fellow who skinned said he’d never seen one like it. He’s stretching it to make a wall hanging. Boy, would it look cool on my wall. Hint, hint.


I went pickerel fishing at a couple prime places and was really discouraged. Nothing but a slew of absurdly small chainsides, even at way-back waters. Not sure why the small stuff is in charge of the lakes. Maybe it’ll get better. I’ve also seen some other lakes are doing just fine on pickerel.


Here’s a look at my preggy gull needing a load of handouts.




Today ... Had to wait my turn to head down this drive (Barnegat) ... By the looks of the hungry glares I was getting, I wasn't gonna get pushy.

By the by, this is a look at what I often refer to as the Route 9 stock. They quite-knowingly snuggle up to humanity to avoid hunters. They can even draw in deer from wilder outback areas. In fact, imagine a lonely buck deer in the deep pines getting wind of some of these does. 

I got this comment from another deer spotter:  Hi Jay, Seen 11 deer walking across someone's front yard driving Mule Rd ,Berkeley.


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