Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Fri. Aug. 28, 09 -- Rain and seabass crisis

Friday, August 28, 2009: Waves: rapidly building 4- to 5-foot northerly wind swell with redirected southerly ground swell – that takes place when ground swells arriving from the south (TS Danny) get redirected by strong northerly winds, essentially turning the swell direction around to a more northerly direction. Leading to north to south parallel currents along beachline. Obviously, that stirs the ocean up.

Some tropical-type squalls – with fierce lighting bolts -- are muscling into the area. Road flooding everywhere at 10 a.m. It’s hard to say if this will keep up all day but it doesn’t look good for fishing, even in the bay. It might be a good day to get fall equipment ready – for many that’s a switchover from fluking and light-fishing gear to the heavier stuff. I’m excited about going very retro this fall. I’ll be using as much vintage gear as I can. Not sure why, just to add some spice to things.

Below is an alert about the possbile early closure of the black seabass fishery. I saw that coming clear back at the announcement of a minimum 18–inch limit on fluke. I knew sure as shootin’ that folks would get frustrated with no meat in the cooler and zip out to reefs and structures. Once there, the tog were already off the table, so what’s left? That’s all part of my ongoing gripe with this moronic management concept of nursing one species (fluke) backi in one felled swoop while essentially wiping out other species in the process.

Another seldom brought up point regarding seabass is a growing interest in this species among those folks currently exploiting live tog (often illegally). Seabass have a great flavor when cooked fresh. They also shine as an advanced sashimi. What’s an advanced sashimi? That’s a raw fish that is pretty strong tasting. “Fishy” is the common expression. Folks who have refined their taste in raw fish begin to go toward stronger and stronger flavors. The Japanese are famous for that.

This is not to say that covert seabassing is the cause of the fish’s rapid stock decline. That would still be fishermen overall. The problem is anytime a fish becomes popular, for whatever reason, it gets a huge target on its back.

The upside to conserving black seabass is the fact the fish reproduces quickly. A back-off of heavy fishing pressure could lead to rapid stock gains. I’m not suggesting a moratorium or any such thing, just a more sensible size limit and bag. Actually, restrictions will be coming. The trick is to make them sensible – and to let us get back at all those stinkin’ fluke out there.

There is a veritable glut of fluke, regardless of what the so-called data claim. We have damn near reached a dangerous saturation point. As I oft note in here, those fluke have to be eating every young-of-year species in the bay. How can hundreds of boats all hook one fluke after another in the same region if the bottom isn’t coated in them? What small creature can swim across those sands without being scarfed down. NONE.

Here’s that seabass release:

The agenda for next week's meeting of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council has been revised to include the discussion of a potential emergency closure of the 2009 recreational black sea bass and scup fisheries.

The Marine Fisheries Council discussion will focus on the outcome of a September 1 meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Board. The ASMFC Board meeting is in response to information regarding available black sea bass preliminary recreational harvest estimates and projections, which indicate that harvest will likely result in significant quota overages.

The Marine Fisheries Council meeting will be held on Thursday, September 3, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. at the Galloway Township Library, Jimmie Leeds Road, Absecon, New Jersey.

Revised Marine Fisheries Council Meeting Agenda:

1. Roll Call
2. Compliance with Sunshine Law
3. Approval of Minutes for July, 2009
4. Enforcement Report
5. Legislative Report
6. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Report
7. Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Report
8. Shellfish Council Report
9. Committee Reports
10. Regulatory Actions - Update on 2009 Regulatory Proposal
- Potential Closure of 2009 Recreational Black Sea Bass and Scup Fisheries
- Potential Change in Commercial and Recreational Winter Flounder Measures
11. Old Business - Wind Farms
12. New Business
13. Public Comment
14. Date of Next Meeting November 9, 2009

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