Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday May 25 -- big bass will welcome holiday weekenders

Friday, May 25, 2007:

What’s catching out there?

You tell me. (Actually I have some hot-ish striper news below)

In the past 36 hours I’ve seen a ton of fishing folks arriving for the holiday weekend.

Yes, I like to weigh them all to make an estimate of how many anglers are out there. Here’s my thinking: They want a way to estimate anglers for the mandatory angler census needed by the feds. So instead of a saltwater fishing license, we just weigh the fishermen (I don’t think the fishing gals will allow it) divide the total be, say, 200 and voila, no need to pay for a license – or make out-of-staters pay more for a license.

By the by, that is my hugest reservation with a saltwater angler license – that is, after it’s been written in blood that all funds from the licensing go back to fishing-related research, preservation and enforcement. I know other states do it but our out-of-state saltwater anglers already bring a ton of revenue and, just as important, support to the sport here in Jersey. Plus, there is nothing in the census mandate that even remotely suggests higher fees for out-of-staters. That is just an ugly revenue-seeking afterthought by politicos hoping to grab more bucks. Well, just wait until they see the war that erupts when those political hotshots try to redirect the census/license funds into the general budget.

Anyway, I have scattered reports of moderate to sizzling bass fishing, boat and bank. North End is showing numerous weigh-ins of 15 pounds and up. Boat chatter also has those fish in the inlet and sod banks.

Mid-Island had 20-pound fish. I only heard of two but chatter had other big fish caught –and some released according to a walker who saw a major fish measured and redeposited in the waves.

On average you can nab a keeper maybe every four bass. Of course, how can you have any keepers if you don’t catch your four? – And “How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?” Any Pink Floyd folks. Me, too.

How about some of these catch-and-must-release fluke? Try a 25-icher (and a couple 20-inchers nearby) in Barnegat Bay. Sorry, no specifics.

This year we will NOT be allowed to keep a single fluke belly for bait. It got a bit controversial and that regulatory change won’t take place until next year.

I know it’s stupid to ask folks to play nice but it sure looks like it’s building to one of the largest Memorial Days ever. Conflicts will surely be a-brew between boats. We’ll dehumanize things and pretend it’s not actually the people on the boats. Take it from someone who lost his mind at the drop of a hat, it just ain’t worth the screaming and cursing (and fisticuffs). It royally ruins the day -- and the weekend; All fun flies out the window. What could have been the best of weekends turns into the worst, sometimes made worse by later court appearances. As I said, take it from someone who knows – and now just smiles and turns the other way when things get heated.

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