Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
FLUKE SEASON EXTENSION AND BUGGYING UPDATES:
The announcement of an extended season for fluking was expected after the 2013 Sandy factor was finally factored in by the feds. Here’s an on-scene report from Paul H.
On 7/11/13 the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council voted in favor of extending the recreational summer flounder season by 8 days. The season had been slated to close on 9/16 but will now continue through 9/24. The meeting was well attended by the public and the council listened attentively while members of the public voiced their opinions. There had been three options on the table that would have extended the season by either six or eleven days or none at all. Representatives from the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association, New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, NJ State Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs and Jersey Coast Anglers Association were amongst those who spoke in favor of extending the season by eleven days. Though a clear majority favored that option, other groups and individuals urged the council to take a more conservative approach and increase the season by only six days. Additionally, those on the fluke advisory panel had also recommended increasing the season by only six days. Previously the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission had approved an additional bonus quota of 88,000 fish that would have allowed the NJMFC to extend the season by up to eleven days. Ultimately, Councilwoman Eleanor Bochenek made somewhat of a surprise motion to extend the season by eight days, an option that had not been on the table. Many of those in attendance applauded as her motion passed by a narrow 5-4 margin.
I’m probably not the only one wondering about the validity of devising a non-reviewed option but I also applaud the on-the-fly thinking by Eleanor.
HITS HOME: More importantly, what does this mean to us? A ton – but hopefully not too many tons, since we also don’t want to overshoot the allotted poundage during that extension.
Looking ahead to the extension period, the surfside potential for fluke is super. This past spring, you could limit out on big fluke in the suds. I had never seen a surfline fluke presence like that since (I probably shouldn’t bring this up) the astounding fluke die-off of the mid-1970s. While this latest showing was wonderfully nature, the die-off saw fluke stranding themselves on the beach by the thousands, forced in by hideously polluted water. Somewhere I have photos of beachgoing folks hauling trashcans filled with still flapping flatties off the beaches in Ship Bottom. Surfing buddies and I kept trying to throw the grounded fluke back in but the water but the surf had so much blooming algae there was no oxygen. I’ll even admit that we ended up taking a bunch home to eat. They were in no way toxic. They were dying of suffocation, not poisoning.
BUGGYING WAYS: Anyway, I have to think that this September will see not only amazing boat fluking but epic beach fishing for flatties. That means the season extension will light up our beach buggying world. And we could use some light as we closely watch to see the status of the Holgate far south end.
Holgate ain’t lookin’ overly good at this point so we’ll just have to wait until the scheduled reopening time (end of August) draws near to see what’s what. You still cannot buy buggies in municipalities like Long Beach Township.
But I optimistically see a goodly chunk of post-Sandy LBI being ready and drivable by summer’s end, though Beach Haven south is massively iffy (see below).
Recent re-replenishings have added a massive chunk of new sand into the Island’s beach system, primarily south of Harvey Cedars. Not that we’ve had any problems with towns prohibiting buggies – other than Barnegat Light – but a recurring theme of beach replenishment is the utilization of the beaches by all user groups once the sands are in place. We should be welcomed on fat and widened beaches.
What’s more, we have also been getting the benefits on sands drifting southward from mid-Island replenishment efforts. A goodly chunk of Long Beach Township, from Brant Beach southward -- as far away as Nebraska Avenue – has taken on littoral drift sands.
Admittedly, the front beaches of Beach Haven and Holgate proper (Beach Haven Inlet) will be a huge question mark come fall buggying season. BH’s George G., public works guru, will help make the final determination of buggies on the beach in the Queen City. He knows his borough’s beaches inside out, literally, having arranged them since Sandy. Although he’s one of us, if he says the beaches just can’t take the strain, that’s all she wrote. Replenishment sands could be reaching Beach Haven by as early as next spring, so, in that vein, the future looks brighter than, say, this coming fall. As with Holgate, the coming two months – when beaches can build during summer calmness or get ravaged by a single tropical system – will tell.
I will get word out about buggy permits in here.