Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday -- Dec. 13, 07 -- Nasty and getting uglier

Thursday, December 13, 2007: Waves: Choppy 4-5 foot north swell.

Messy week for me. I had to get out four papers –2 SandPapers and 2 leaders – in four days to clear the way for my Christmas Holiday. An upcoming couple weeks of free time will allow me to probe around for any lingering bass – and hopefully grab some Christmas clams. The bivalves are a sure thing when compared to a Christmas bass.

Today pretty much (once again) squelched the hopes of those trying grab a mid-December bass session, as was ultra-common last year. It began honking from the north early-on and the temps dropped all day. I bolted to the mainland to do some treasure hunting and even in the protective woods it got so frickin’ raw my feet got cold even enclosed within Thinsulate. Throughout the winter, I blog on some of the better things I find. Quick eye-opener: I’m stunned by the current going price for “Long Live the President” buttons, marking George Washington’s inauguration as out first president. About 15 years ago, I dug two matching inauguration buttons, both rare vest-sized varieties. One recently sold for $4,750 – and it sucked by comparison to mine. You read right, almost $5,000 for a single button – and there are others of this type (larger) worth twice that. And you wonder why I’m out there th’ing (our abbreviation for treasure hunting).

Back to angling, yesterday saw some schoolies going for clams along the beachfront. One fellow had a 27-incher and was upstanding enough to toss it back. My guess is he didn’t know he could purse the tail. As noted earlier, the odds of an Xmas striper seem slim so I have to wonder what I’ll do if faced with a 27-inch decision during my holiday fishing. This is the time of year I really steam over the loss of the NJ slotfish. I’m not so much pissed that the boat anglers and charterboats managed to win their 2@28 but at the needless overprotection of the small bass biomass that is obviously overpopulating. As I’ve always professed, the babying of one favorite species like this will all but doom the recovery of other competing gamefish species.

LADY CHRISTMAS: A few years back I wrote about a gal who called me seriously asking for insider info on what kind of brand new SUV she should buy her spouse as a Christmas present. The concept seemed so outlandish that I actually caught heat from readers alleging no one would go that crazy on a Christmas present. Admittedly, even I thought it was a tad radical. Still, she was not only for real but went through with it. What fascinates me now is the fact that there are at least half a dozen prime time TV commercials openly hyping the buying of brand new (often top-shelf) vehicles as Christmas gifts. That gal who called me was way ahead of the curve.

Emails: (A couple end-of-year reads):

Jay: Your year end fishing report exactly mirrors my surfcasting experience. I started the year by catching short bass (still hanging around) in January, had the best spring ever for bassing (keepers on almost every outing including one at 28 lbs-41 inches), what little summer fishing I did yielded small blues on light tackle until it was boring, nice blues early in the fall and a handful of beautiful fluke (after the season closed), and one, that’s right ONE striped bass at 24 inches in November. Granted, I was away on business for most of October and November but I still managed to get out there 4 or 5 times. One bass at 24 inches this fall, it hurts to even look at it on the screen. –Mickey


Jay, …

It seems logical that there are cycles of fish much as there are cycles of many if not all living organisms.

Part of the cycle is caused by the regulations, the larger size requirement for fluke has probably caused a greater emphasis on weakfishing and at some point might put weakfish in danger again. It wasn't that long ago that weakfish were pretty scarce.

I think a better question for us all is--when you seine a specific area, how does the take differ year to year? Are there generally more or less fish? Then consider what's in the net by species.

Maybe some of the blackies and such can't survive as juveniles because of the abundance of other species. Snapper blues can really do a job on any population.

So tell me, how much harm are jet skis causing in the shallows? Are they part of the problem with the eelgrass?

I just hope that some of the dummies out there realize that your message about taking undersize fish or exceeding the limit is directed at them. We have a lot of guilty people who think that the rules are for others, not them. I hate the arrogance that some of them display.

Hey, nothing about crabs? I still want a moratorium on taking ANY females.

In the good old days, my dad would take me down to the Long Branch pier to fish for whiting(hake). It was terrific fishing way back then. Ron.


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