Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday August 10, 07 -- Hyper-hot and Rachael Rae to LBI

Friday, August 10, 2007: WAVES: Choppy 2-4 feet out of the south. Water clarity: Fair but getting cleaner; that could change back to poor if the winds blow too hard from the south.

Weakfishing decent at BI. Some stripers in the nix; North End and along the beachfront; mainly clam eaters. Weather is very unpredictable, looks almost tropical with rains quall coming up from the SW.

SCARY HEAT: It’s one of those paradox things. The first half of summer we couldn’t buy a passing shower much less a steady soaking rain to get the grasses looking green and I complained. Now some hefty showers have filled the caldrons and the grasses are going full guns, lookin’ good. The only thing is the mosquitoes, totally absent during the dryness, are so thick you can’t enjoy the lushness without being put upon by swarms of banshee bloodsuckers. Bring back the drought.

As you might know, I’m not into this overnight Global warming thing affecting everyday day weather at this point. You can’t deny there are huge issues in the stratosphere that could – in the very long run – cause catastrophic weather changes. However, to interpret everyday weather as being Global Warming driven is actually poor science.

With that in mind, I still have to be amazed (along with much of the meteorological realm) to see high temperatures today in Charleston, South Carolina, reaching 106 to 107 degrees. The winds will be light and humidity high so the heat index may reach one of the highest points ever reached in the country.

Other areas in the Deep South will also go well over 100 – as will the far drier Midwest and west.

Adding a local touch to the mercury popping temps was a barely noticed weirdity up in Trenton a few days back where the Ewing’s official weather station reported 103 degrees.

Fortunately for us, this fast-moving storm will hold the torrid temps at bay – though not that far away. The slightest slip in the quick-time storm coming our way today could allow the utter heat to gush in. That actually seems to be happening as forecasted NE winds are now full-blown SE, with sauna like temps mixed in, even on the Island.

There is a angling angle to that lethally intense heat to our south and that’s the chance of fish species to work their way northward as solar heating takes ocean temps from North Carolina southward into the mid 80s (and possible higher since the winds are light). It could create some non-Gulf Stream warm-water eddies from the canyons all the way to bft land. With east winds mixed in, the nearshore water could also get highly balmy in the long run.

Unfortunately, that “long run” could well be September and October – and beyond. Obviously, some unseasonably cold fall air from the Canadian angle could counter things, via convectional cooling. HOWEVER, that does not seem likely right about now. I’m so convinced of ultra warm water hanging around late into fall that I’m worried about everything from the mullet run to the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic.

FAME AND BLOODWORMS: Since I seldom offer info for the nonfishing spouses of many of you, here’s an interesting paparazzi item. A fairly famed morning talk show host and noted chef, the saucy Rachael Rae, is coming to tape her nationally televised program. She’ll be at the Chicken or the Egg in Beach Haven early next week. I think Tuesday morning.

I must admit I didn’t know who she. I was roundly admonished by most of my staff for not knowing who Rachel is. The men on my floor were particularly astounded that I didn’t know this hot apparently hyper-hot little number. Hey, what can I say; I’m a Giada De Laurentiis follower. It’s tough to imagine anyone hotter than Giada in the kitchen – or wherever.

Anyway, while Rachel is taping her show she’ll be schmoosed by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce to see if she might want to do an LBI return for the fall Chowdefest.

Since the LBI Surf Fishing Classic begins the following week, I might as well also invite her to drive to Holgate with me for the start of the event. I have two other seats in my truck. I’ll rent them that day for, say, $100 each. In fact, for $500, I’ll rent the front passenger-side seat, where Rachel will have to sit on your lap for the bumpy ride out to the Rip. I might even set up a grill down near the Rip and she’ll cook up any fish we catch. Uh, maybe somebody better buy some filets to bring out, just in case.

Interesting email question: Can bloodworms be raised? … I have a bayfront property with exposed mud every low tide.

(You might be able to raise the local bloodworms – if you can find them, but the shock Maine worms would go through in being transplanted would lead to a 100 percent fatality rate.

As for getting local bloodworms: .

I am probably one of the only person who has commercially harvested bloodworms in NJ. The work was horrifically hard, especially compared to harvesting in Maine, where every turn of the mud offers a showing of bloods. On average it takes me ten turnovers to harvest single worm. They do come in spurts though. I used to dig upwards of 25 dozen a tide – before collapsing in the mud from exhaustion, where five foot long ribbonworms would begin burrowing into my ears and nostrils. Actually, I once dreamt that so I now always keep a highly caffeintaed drink with me so I can get some escape energy if I overdo it and have this overwhelming desire to curl up the in the comfortably oozy mud for a little siesta.

Anyway, something very bad is happening in the local bloodworming realm. They’re disappearing at a horrific rate. Understand that for over ten years I harvested them and saw no decline whatsoever. In fact, things were going full guns on the flats. Since I was the only digger, and the dig areas were truly huge, there is no way I dug them all. In fact, it seemed the more I turned the mud over in prime zones, year after year, the better the worming became. That reap-and-sow pattern has long been noted by Maine diggers.

Then, about five or six years back – and within a single season – the worms went. I mean they really went. I don’t think it was a disease since other worms – like the aforementioned ribbonworms, along with a variety of other species closely related to bloodworms – are doing just fine.

For a numerical comparison: In my prime North End dig area, throughout the mid 1990s, I had averaged over 20 dozen worms per one low tide. This spring, in three full-tide digs, I found 26 worms – total for three days! The South End – where I could average 10 to 12 dozen per tide, I found none, zero, ziltch.

Trying to scientifically rationalize the problem, I considered the sand intrusion from nearby erosion (on both ends of the Island) but that didn’t jibe for the same reason as above: every other mudflat burrowing creature was doing utterly fine in the mud and sand.

It was through some technical scientific studies that I fear I found the main factor in their demise: heat.

We are in the very furthest southerly point in what might be called prime bloodworm habitat – though that’s a bit of a stretch since they are very much a New England species. These worms just don’t like heavy heat.

When I look at my weather records, sure enough, there is an overall summer temperature rise aligned with the disappearance. Remember, in nature even a seemingly small increase can cause huge changes. Take, for instance, the arrival of the tiny brightly colored coquina clams, decidedly southern species that now carpet our shoreline sands. A slight ocean water temp increase seems to have ushered them in.

In the last decade or so, we’ve experienced something like four of the seven hottest summers on record. Again, those summers are perfectly aligned with the disappearance of the bloodworms.

However, if we’ve learned anything about the coming and goings of all marine species, it’s the way they do, in fact, come and go. A couple cooler years and I may be writing about the huge resurgence of bloodworms. I sure wouldn’t mind that – and neither would my wallet, with the going price of those juicy worms.

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