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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, July 13, 2007 -- Friday the 13th a good day to fish, right?

Friday, July 13, 2007: Waves: Small. Water clarity: Very good. Winds: Brisk south.

We’re into a south flow again. This will help the fluke drift early on but could max out if the SE’erlies push things a tad too much as the day goes on. Ocean flattie fishing remains decent. Target water depths are pushing 55 feet and deeper. G.H. emailed after finally having a good day on fluke. “I went with larger Spros with just minnies and had two big fluke in succession.” Both fish were I the five-pound range. The Spros were all white.

A surfcaster I chatted with has been nabbing a “few” fluke in the surf, north side of jetties using spearing (formaldehyded) on a store-bought fluke rig with silver metal blade for flash. “You gotta keep it moving or the crabs tear up the spearing.” It seems that the calico crabs (your typical surfline species) are unusually thick this year. That’s an aggregation but not the worst thing for bass fishing as these are the number one, on average, foodstuff of stripers.

Speaking of bass, I had another jetty worker tell me that there are usually a few small stripers to be had early day. He uses small swimmers at first but ends with an Ava jig to get some depth and distance. The plug seems to get slightly larger bass than the metal. By the by, Ava jigs (larger when needed) work very well when drifting for fluke. You can get them sans surgical tube or just go with tubed models and attach squid/Minnie combo. When working fluke the Avas can be lifted lightly but seem to work best just allowed to drag bottom like lead. The nice things about them in wind is the way fish will come off the bottom to hit them if the current gets stronger and the bottom hold is borderline.

Talked with a weakfishing regular and things are not good, period. I was worried about that when I saw no new weaks coming in after the spawn. I noted yesterday the odd lack of kingfish and croakers in recent years, alluding to a possible resurgence in the down-South shrimp-netting industry to the south – a long-time dire impacted of those fisheries. What I failed to mention was the hideous impact that industry could also have on small weakies. I apologize to that industry if it is somehow not to blame for the recent precipitous decline in those species historically tied to the bycatch of shrimping but I still feel something is amiss down that way. The loss of habitat to the south – and even locally – is also a surefire contributor.

Minnow supplies have rebounded quite a bit in shops.

Asbury Park Press blog forwarded by BHM&TC:

GALLOWAY — State Fish and Wildlife Director David Chanda said today that his division will draft a regulation banning between May and October commercial fishing traps around two artificial reefs -- one off Sea Girt -- in New Jersey waters.

Chanda also told the state Marine Fisheries Council, an advisory group, that he will ask the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to apply the same ban to the 13 other artificial reefs which the state manages in federal waters.

The ban would be imposed from May 1 to Oct. 31, set a maximum on the number of traps that can be set around a reef the rest of the year, and require the use of sinking lines to connect traps to reduce instances of fishing gear and anchors from boats snagging the lines.

The rule could take effect in eight or nine months -- by next summer -- pending approval by the state fisheries council, Chanda said. He said that if that panel is not in agreement with the ban the state Legislature could proceed with a bill sponsored by state Sen. Thomas H. Kean Jr., R-Union, which would completely prohibit traps on reefs.

Chanda's announcement is seen as a victory for Reef Rescue, an ad hoc group of recreational fishing and diving groups who have complained of too many traps being set around artificial reefs.

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