Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Important -- LBT early closure not so bad as reported but dune toe could be troubling

LBT WANTS MINOR EARLY CLOSURE – ONLY; TOE OF DUE ISSUE STILL THERE, THOUGH: There was a stir created when Long Beach Township commissioners proposed a shortening of the beach buggy season. Word got out, through some inaccurate media info, that something like 6 weeks was to be pared off out buggying time – including the removal of time on the famed fall end of things. I, like many, leaped up in fear and protest that we could lose nearly a month of our prime autumnal angling period.
Turns out it just ain’t so.
I had an informative conversation with Commissioners Ralph Bayard and it turns out the only beach closure action being considered by the commissioners is a two week “early closure” this year (May 15 instead of June 1) due to what is, in fact, an increasing ‘early arrival” of beachgoers anxious to get back to the beach. That May 15 closure is already in place in other municipalities.
I had to explain to the commissioner that mobile anglers – and all saltwater anglers in general – are very tensed right about now with draconian cuts being made by fishery management. The prospect of any buggy or beach-use restrictions would be one of those proverbial needles that explode the camel, or something like that.
I sure feel a lot better regarding those proposed beach buggy constraints. And, no, I don’t want to give up those couple weeks but I sure can’t argue the fact that conflicts between buggies and beachgoers increase exponentially after mid-May.
Since I had him on the phone, I even made a case for opening the Holgate section of the township, from where the township and Beach Haven meet (Osborne Avenue) down to parking lot area near the entrance to the wilderness area beachfront. He said the matter could be considered. Bayard in no way shape or form was anti-mobile angling.
I did not get into the issue of a proposed ordinance change to “No vehicle shall be operated within 25 feet of the toe of the sand dune …”
Admittedly, that is a sticky issue – if it were to be enforced. It’s an issue that should get anglers attending next month’s meeting. Being forced that far from, essentially, dune fencing would close many areas of the township, particularly Brant Beach during high tide. Unacceptable.
The so-called “toe” of the dune has been a bugaboo for decades, impacting everything from beach replenishment to where we can drive on the Holgate beachfront. While there is a formula for establishing a dune’s toe, it’s seldom fully applicable. One size formula does not fit all.
While the township’s asserting where dune toes are located could all but exclude driving a number of beach areas during high tide, I think the move is simply be an effort by LBT to indicate concern for its beaches prior to a possible beach restoration project. I doubt it could be heavily enforced. That still doesn’t mean the issue can hangs over buggyists. Clarification is compulsory.
PLEASE: Those fired up over this issue can safely tune it down a bit, though not completely. I fully believe the township commissioners are willing to listen to sincere and sensible input. Please offer opinions in just that way.

Views: 86

Comment by Robert Braack on March 25, 2008 at 3:16pm
Rebounding off my private e-mail to you, I'm glad to hear your newest blog. Two weeks is easier to swallow than six weeks. I am, however still concerned with the 25 ft toe thing. I maintain, at most sections where the jetty is involved, technically we as orv people, cannot get past the jetty structure if we were to abide by the ruling. Specifically on the north end. Loveladies and North Beach, not to mention Harvey Ceders which is tough at the best of times, gets rather skinny at the upper tides and we will definatly have to go deep into the 25 ft area to safely clear a jetty. I, as well as all other anglers that I am in contact with, don't want to dammage any dune structure as we know the reprocussion should we do so. However, 25 ft is a bit much to ask. In all my years of working the beaches of Long Beach Twp. I have never seen a track that could cause any erosion of said dune structure. Therefore a 25 ft buffer is not seriously required.
Let's all get together and offer the municipalities a logical explanation as to the best senario to the situation. No one needs to go half cocked with a screw you attitude. Every one has rights to the beach and the regs should be applied with all factions considered.
Just my opinion.
Barnegat Light Heavers
Comment by Joe Handley Jr. on March 26, 2008 at 1:34am
My opinion on a earlier beach closure is this---total horse shit. There is absolutely no reason in my opinion to do this closure even a day earlier. I think closing the beaches the Wednesday before Memorial Day is more then fair. It all comes down to cater to the tourist and the all mighty dollar. Most schools are still in session until late June anymore. Granted there are more people on the island on the weekends, but I have fished thousands of mid June, mid weekday and nights without another soul in sight. But here I am carrying all my gear over the dunes. I'm a young guy and can do this, but how many older folks quit fishing when they can't drive on the beach. I know a few. My Grandfathers who started me fishing basically gave up fishing the surf when they couldn't drive on. How many people does that effect?
So now we are going to have two more added weeks of trying to find a parking spot in prime fishing locations (nearly impossible), while worrying about some psyco "summer locals" calling the cops or worse vandalizing your truck, when you park legally in front of their house. There's some good news.
I think you should be able to drive the beaches after dark or between dawn and 8am year round in my opinion. That is a pipe dream, I know. I am just so sick of bad news, after bad news aimed at recreational fisherman, ORV folks, surfers, dog owners, ect. And I am all of those.
You can't fish here, you can't surf there, the fish regs are going up, the season is getting shortened, no fluke season at Holgate, where is your $30 beach badge, you have a license to fish in these waters (coming soon), commercial pots on privately funded reefs, no dogs on the beach after.....it just doesn't end.....and I am tired of it.
Bob is right that we have to share the beaches, but we are not being concidered. I feel really bad for the guys and gals who live there 24/7. Is it true you can't fish in Surf City in the summer between 9am and 5pm? That is sick if that is true.
I would say the tourist season does way more damage to our beaches and dunes then any ORVs. Just go to Centre St in BH on a nice July weekend and see for yourself. There are people always putting blankets up on the duneline (well within the 25' toe) and just by walking along that area the sand will naturally be dispursed seaward. Let alone all the knuckleheads that walk in the dunes themselves. But this is okay because they are tourist with tourist $$$$$. I can understand this to an extent. I have lots of friends with island businesses and tourist season is their livelihood. If ORV's have to stay 25 feet from the toe, so does everyone else, including beach goers.
Anyone who travels to the beaches of NC, especially the outer banks, beware of the happenings in that region. I spend a few weeks a year there each fishing season, and there is now a motion by law to close the beaches to ORV's permanently. That includes the famous Cape Point, and inlet areas, north and south. Just a nightmare.
I believe the bird huggers are behind this but I have to do more research. A court decision is coming I believe on April 4th. Local business owners are furious, because the know it will cripple the local economy. The 4x4 access on the beach down there is THE attraction. People need to come up with the right answers fast. Just my family spent close to $10,000 in two weeks vaction down there. One family. Multiply that by thousands if they continue to restrict. I surely won't be back if that happens, and I love it there. Same goes for LBI.
Hopefully everything will work out.
I just recently purchased some property in Utah. I never thought I would be ready to up and leave for a life of skiing and trout fishing, never to see an ocean again, but I'm getting real close. That is saying alot from a guy that was born with saltwater in his veins. Get ready for one hell of a yard sale folks. A fishing collection that is second to none. Surfboards, wetsuits, waders, beach buggy, ect........
Joe Handley
Eastampton and LBT, NJ


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