I keep waiting for Facebook to ask, “What Kinda Numbnuts are YOU?” Then I might be able to chime in.
Friday, August 01, 2014: It’s starting to look like tomorrow a.m. won’t be user-friendly if you’re an angler or even a beachgoer. However, a quick recovery/clearing could take place in the afternoon.
The winds are going to bump in out of the east tonight, but not very hard. Those onshore easterlies will persist for about 24 hours, blowing in the warmest beachline water of the year, well into the 70s.
Short of sharks, that mild water won’t necessarily usher in any enhanced surf fishing. What’s more, if the wind shifts a bit more northerly, in comes the eelgrass – and sewer crap from up north, where they’ve recently had some gully washers. Bad combination. I’ve always wanted out beach cleanup folks to gather all that northern junk and haul it back up. “Uh, you guys lost this.”
The periods of light wind through Monday will once again open the doors to rampant bayside fluke fishing.
The flatties are there in the bay in near overwhelming numbers, which is doom if you’re a young-of-year species, including gamefish like bluefish, weakfish, tog, winter flounder, kingfish, seabass, to name just a few.
I’ve long been suspect of the babying of fluke at the expense of other gamefish. To prove my point, in recent days four bayside vessels took 181 undersized fluke. Multiply that by the total number of boats out there you get an idea of how many fluke brick the bottom. The thing is, many of these released fish weren’t that undersized. They are fully capable of eating just about anything swimming in the bay – and they do. And there really aren’t that many natural predators for fluke. Obviously, humans pose the greatest threat. And a damn decent and deadly one I should add. However, in the not distant future, conservationists will likely laugh, pathetically, over the half-assed job our fishery management did by fully failing to think as the bay ecosystem as a whole. When you baby one species, it’s pretty much doom for the rest. Add to that manmade eco imbalance the egregious environmental damage and stress being humanly placed on the bayside breeding grounds and it’s all over, baby blue. Just sayin’.
SAFE SHARKING: I saw an understandable FB rant over a dead shark that washed up – obviously the victim of shark fishing. I can’t in good consciousness discourage folks from toying with this fun fishery – after so many other species have been restricted or fully removed from saltwater anglers. But, I have noisily warned in the past that sharks are wusses when it comes to surviving being caught and improperly handled.
As for breakoffs before landing, that happens on the beach, nearshore and (more so) offshore. It can be reduced by learning the ropes – and knots, hooks and line test – but it is still part of the sport. My advice is to study those “ropes.” Tackle shops can help educate, as can YouTube and Google. But most of all, you can help by being meticulously careful with shark catches-and-releases.
Tip: Do not drag sharks way up on the dry sand to unhook and release. Keep them wet. Let them lie near the water – unhook and quickly return to the water. With smaller sharks, don’t hoist them up in the air with one hand, show-off-style. I see it done a lot. That bending action for a shark is death, via internal injuries and a release of the urine contained in the meaty parts of the fish. Do not kick/roll a landed shark back into the water. What’s more, get a rapid photo of the shark – not a series of shots with every family member -- and anyone walking the beach.
Ray Romano stopped by my shop this morning.