Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, December 07, 2018: Did a chilly clam dig in Holgate. It was a tough dig due to that increasing mud sinkiness.

Video: Check out this massive sand buildup, just west of the Holgate Refuge's northern reaches. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peuBVcX6Zo0 . 

This is where a load of replen sand has gone. Ironically, the pumped in sand was meant to create an oceanfront beach and it is seemingly doing better building a bayside beach-like area. This is all newly arrived sand since there is no sign of bayside creatures, like clams and assorted bivalves, within it. By as early as next year I'm betting sedge grasses will start growing on it, providing it gains just a few more inches of height. This is low tide. Of note, and not shown on the video, there is another shoal-like strip of north-south sand forming, barely submerged, just west of this growing sand outcrop. As the submerged shoal strip accrues sand, it will act to block bay action impacting the larger sand collection area, increasing the likelihood of the sand videotaped here developing into a vegetated zone. By the by, it is tough to access this new sand buildup area since you can't cross the Refuge. The only walk-in is bayside, to the north, via low tide flats. 

Of course, that same area has long been, let's say, dynamic. 

Friday/Saturday, December 07/08, 2018: Did a chilly clam dig in Holgate. It was a tough dig due to that increasing mud sinkiness.  I did Ok numbers-wise but my ungloved hands got numbish, not to mention I’m kinda dug-out on the whole mud-racking concept, though it’s far more productive than fishing. And, yes, I’ll need to dig a slew for the holidays.

BUGGY DAYS THAT WERE: This Island has lost an important piece of its fall culture. It has driven off into the sunset. Or, more exactly, it has been driven off.

For decades, going back to small-kid times for me, the beach buggy tradition had been a mainstay of off-season times. As recently as the 1980s, surfcasting-related beach drive-about folks had been a loosely knit but highly abiding band of buggy brothers, especially down Holgate way.

During those now instantly ancient days, when jetties abounded, buggies often graced almost every rock area, from north to south.

In Holgate, it was an annual gathering of “the boys,” especially down at the Rip. There were often dozens of vehicles caravanned from the parking lot south -- many buggies loaded with anglers covering the un-groined beach stretch from the entrance all the way around to the back cut. It was a wave-and-chat session, when gab could go on for lengthy periods, especially if you were of a chatty-Kathy nature, as a goodly number of older anglers tended to be. And it was great. What a fine way to catch up on whatever there was to catch up on -- often done with eyes on spiked rods poised at the ready, since there was once many a trophy fish to also be caught up on.

No longer. Be it the lack of Island jetties/groins or, far more likely, what is amounting to an utter lack of surfside fish, the beach buggy culture has pulled outta town. With it went a quite cool brotherhood of gritty anglers. This fall, there was many a trip down to the end when I saw nary a single fishing buggy. Hell, there are now more birdwatching buggyists than fishermen. That’s not a bad thing, mind you, just indicative of a quantum shift away from the good old angling days.

Might the buggy days of yore return? For much of the LBI beachfront, the loss of jetties makes that a tad less likely, though I saw a couple regular buggy gatherings, mid-island, at the height of this year’s LBI Surf Fishing Classic. Still, something is missing, badly. As to Holgate, I’m betting a solid return of beachfront and Rip bassing would almost instantly bring the far south end back to buggy life. Now, to convince the fish to help that cause.  

HERE KITTY, KITTY: Over on the mainland, there was a highly reliable report of a huge gray/white ring-tailed feline, with highly tufted ears, day-roaming in the Nugentown area. It absolutely sounds like a bobcat, in essence -- though I won’t rule out a feral Maine coon cat. More on those huge and popular domesticated cats below.

The number of bobcats currently pussyfooting around Jersey has increased, possibly dramatically, since being reintroduced in the state, via wild-caught specimens translocated here from Maine. Prior to that, the species was thought to have been extirpated in our state.

Those Maine imports were placed in North Jersey. And it seemingly worked, per reported sightings, most commonly by citizenry. Unfortunately, one other way to detect their growing presence is through roadkill, something of a New Jersey wildlife-count custom. In recent years, more bobcats have been killed than were first translocated. The upside is most are those are younger bobcats, unfamiliar with NJ drivers.

I will be checking for tracks tomorrow. They may show since the ground is soft after the snow melt.

Tellingly, the area where it was seen has experienced a marked decline in chipmunks, which used to run rampant thereabouts. Of course, a Maine coon, allowed to run around by its owners, could account for massive loss of small wildlife. This house-cat breed is famed as a hunter.

NJDEP data: 

Between 1978 and 1982 the Division conducted a restoration project through which 24 bobcats were trapped in Maine and released in northern NJ. The bobcat was listed as Endangered in New Jersey in 1991.

Today bobcats appear to be rebounding in northern New Jersey, but there continue to be very few observations in the central and southern regions of the state. Their elusive nature makes them a challenge to study. The public can help by reporting a bobcat observation with the Rare Wildlife Sighting Form (please include photos if you have them!). Report an injured or dead bobcat via the DEP Hotline: 1-877-WARNDEP (1-877-927-6337).

Just as a sidebar, Maine coons can be four feet in length (with tail), stand 16 inches high and weigh up to 20 pounds. You won’t miss one in your backyard.

Per Wiki, “It is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, specifically native to the state of Maine, where it is the official state cat.”

Although strictly meant to be a house cat, a Maine coon, like any cat, can become feral. However, unlike smaller felines gone to the wild side, it’s size-induced nutritional needs are likely far too high for long-term feral foraging. One left to its own devices in the wild would likely opt to beggingly return – long tail between its legs -- to food-certain humans. If it is a Maine coon near Nugentown Road, it is probably a roaming pet, albeit one of maximal cat proportions.

Sorry, but the Nugentown feline it far too small to qualify as the famed thought-seen-everywhere “Jersey cougar.” Cougars grow to as much as nine feet long (loads of that is tail) and weigh over 200 pounds, making it the largest cat in North America. However, cougars are far more closely related to the house cat than to “big cats,” like lions and tigers.

Related image


Stafford’s single-use plastic bag ban has gone into effect. As expected, there is plenty of kickback from PO’ed  customers, many of whom seem to have been blindsided by the ban, even though it has been written to hell and back, for many weeks, by publications like The SandPaper.

"Oh, that's OK, I'll just carry them out in my arms."


Months ago, every impacted store in Stafford had been fully notified of both the developing and eventually passed bag-ban ordinance. Any confusion now showing falls fully on the businesses, which literally went totally mum about the impending ban. I didn’t see a single Stafford business put out any advance advisories to customers about the rapidly approaching ban. My guess is they wanted it to be a sudden fiasco – leading to an abandonment of any and all plastics-control programs.

As to shoppers, they likely knew. Instead, with the drama, also in hopes of belatedly stymieing the ban. It’s akin to big game.

There is a growing likelihood a form of plastic bag banning will go state-wide, sooner than later. In fact, NJ could soon have the nation's strictest laws regarding single-use plastics. A proposed ban, now in the Legislature, would include the banning of plastic drinking straws and polystyrene/Styrofoam containers. The state is also looking into charging a dime per paper bag used. The paper-bag fees would go into "Plastic Pollution Prevention Fund." This statute could mean the routine use/availability of paper bags at checkout, with the fund fee added to the tab -- allowing clueless folks to at least have a bag to stand on, so to speak. Might there be potential confusion should a state law prohibit the use of any and all plastic bags. That would screw the stores now offering thick plastic multiuse bags. Needless to say, there could be some conflict twixt towns and state once the NJ plastic-bag ban is finalized.


Jay Mann Correction: In relating Sputnik size to a football, I meant to write the "circumference" of a football. (Thanks James). I even had that written in my notes but accidentally wrote it wrong in my final draft. Very sloppy on my part. I'll be chopping off the little finger on my left hand. That leaves me with one, which is plenty enough the way I type.
No automatic alt text available.

SPUTNIK TERROR FLASHBACK: Onward and outward to something that will send many a trivial mind orbiting out of control. I place this insanely odd entry in here as both a form of un-fond personal remembrance and to alert younger minds that the world was once just as weird as it is now.

It’s 1957. Enter Sputnik 1, launched by the Soviet Union on Oct. 4. It’s a stunning space miracle; the first artificial Earth satellite. Even as a small child, I was drawn into its mystique, having just begun to read science fiction comic books. But it was Sputnik’s subtle terrorific effects on America as a nation that rattled me and my fellow kidlings, later to be known as Baby Boomers. We were the ripe recipients of horror stories regarding the invasive significance of the Sputnik 1 satellite, so close it could be seen at night, ominously glistening overhead.

I clearly recall being hand-led out into cold nights by my parents, to stand in the front yard looking heavenward for, as I recall being told, “a star that moved.” With nearby neighbors also scouring the overhead blackness, it was a weird neighborhood scene by my infantile thinking. And the dreaded moving star was occasionally seen, apparently. I recall Mr. Turazzi yelling out, “Look, there it is! Over there!” Despite my dad literally contorting and side-twisting my head upward in the direction of the seemingly-spotted satellite – and my mom with her nonstop “Can you see it!? Can you see it!?” – I still couldn’t see jack-s***. Oh, I said I did, fearing for the future of my neck. Even at 8 years of age, I recall thinking, “These people are all crazy.”

For you young’uns, I’m speaking of the first days of the modern space race, when the Sputnik1’s modest success was portrayed by our government as something so ominous that it surely indicated our most sworn enemy was already capable of raining down terror from far above. Not only was Sputnik so imposing it could be seen from Earth, it also sent forth an ungodly sound, said to be symbolic of its cruel and invasive intent. I later heard its sound on a recording. It was frickin’ eerie. (Go to YouTube and type in “Sputnik-1 Telemetry Signal.”)

For us kids, Sputnik’s sound was something straight from “outer space,” a term we erroneously used to describe this artificial satellite, which was barely a hop/skip/jump beyond our atmosphere. Despite its nearness, we were led to believe it was only a tad short of a Buck Rodger’s Martian spaceship.

Now, onto the insanely cool and trivial part.

With Cold War I long over, I can now legally expose, without fear of government men-in-black reprisal, that the whole Sputnik 1 scare was farcically propagandized. Imagine that? Propaganda during the Cold War. My fellow Boomers, are you ready for one of the most unfathomable factoids in modern history? Sputnik 1, that circling object of doom, was a whole 22 inches across! That’s the exact size (not length) of a football!

Adding another inch of comicality to this bigger-than-life enemy ball in the sky, it orbited for three weeks until … its batteries died. I kid you not. Bring on that pink rabbit.

Per recently-released documentation, the Soviets had encased Sputnik in a highly-reflective material simply to best reflect sunlight – solely for non-nefarious tracking purposes. In fact, former Soviet leaders openly admit that they were totally stunned that America and much of the world were so instantly terrified of what the Soviets saw as a highly-modest, 55-centimeter orbiting spaceball. Of course, they didn’t waste time tying into the terror aspect – as the U.S. raced to trump Sputnik 1 with Explorer 1, all 80 inches of it. “This can kick the stuffing out of your puny satellite!” … until the batteries run out.

Space race aside, as we are now commingling with Russians in the International Space Station, Sputnik 1 was immeasurably important, in a highly non-belligerent, non-propagandized way. All 22 inches of it would lead to men (and other stuff) reaching the moon. Paternally speaking, it is father to the 1,886 artificial satellites now orbiting the Earth. Then there’s the new push to the moon surface. Wow, can it get any farther away from fishing than the moon surface?


Capt. Alex

Hope this email finds everyone in good health! Sorry for the lack of reports this fall.  The Debbie M had to have the lower unit rebuilt and it took waaaaaaaaaaaaaay longer than it should have. But that is water under the bridge now, or should I say boat LOL   Striper season this fall was far from  amazing. The bass biomass (say that 3 times fast)  seemed to stay beyond the 3 mile line. And then there was the weather. Of the 30 days in November, 13 of those days it rained . I did some surf fishing and most recently, this past weekend, I fished with a friend. During that trip I stuck American Littoral Society Tags in over a half dozen bass. Wonder where and when thy will show up. I will keep you posted of all tag returns I receive. You can watch some of the fishing and tagging action by clicking here December 1, 2018 striper fishing & tagging

 If you like my videos please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can get quicker notification of my posted videos.

Screaming drags


Nielsen Says Health Message in Seafood Resonates During Holidays and Beyond


By John Sackton
Publisher, SeafoodNews
December 7, 2018

Nielsen recently published an article on the ways in which retailers could capitalize on the health benefits of seafood during the holidays, based on their recent seafood surveys.

They say that for those consumers worrying about unhealthy eating during the holidays and making resolutions to do better, eating seafood can be a solution.

Their data bears out the spike in seafood sales compared to all grocery sales beginning in December.

For example, their data show seafood purchases peak in December, and then again in February and then slowly decline.

Seafood sales jump 73% by the end of December compared to the beginning of the month, says Nielsen.

They also say that other perceptions besides protein help guide consumer choices.  The primary aspect of seafood that consumers are aware of is wild or farmed, fresh never frozen vs. fresh previously frozen.

Among those claims that make consumers more likely to purchase seafood are Fresh, Wild, Sustainable, and Best Aquaculture Practices.

The claims that turn consumers away from seafood are fresh, previously frozen and farm raised.  Both of these lead about 27% to 29% of consumers to stay away.

Nielsen’s bottom line is that raising awareness of seafood sourcing at retail is a good way to get a positive response from consumers, and to lock in sales between Christmas and the start of Lent.

Charts: Nielsen Company

John Sackton
Publisher, SeafoodNews.com

Views: 460

Comment by Allen Lawrence Jr. on December 9, 2018 at 11:09am

Hello Jay,I also remember fishing with my best friend and late 1st wife at Holgate in the early 1980's with other friends and their buggies.Everyone always had a great time either fishing or chatting.Great memories of long ago. On another note,I had a odd occurrence happen in my backyard yesterday at 2:50 pm. I walked out onto our upper deck and noticed something to the right lying in the grass about ten yards away. Unbelievably there was a fresh ten inch Bunker not even frozen yet with heavy talon marks on it lying there.I immediately called my wife now to come out and see it.Took a couple photos too .First time I have ever seen this myself and we live about ten minutes from the ocean at Ocean Grove up here in Neptune,Twp.,Monmouth County. At first I though it may have been an Osprey that dropped it,but on second thought it must have been an Eagle because Osprey migrate to southern regions in the Fall and don't come back until sometime in March each year.It made my day.

Comment by Allen Lawrence Jr. on December 9, 2018 at 11:10am


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