It’s that humbling time of the year where I ask for donations to keep this blog up and running. It is a time consuming enterprise but I enjoy it. It’s kinda therapeutic. I hope you find it fun – and functional. I’d also like to take this time to sincerely thank those who email or phone me with tales, fishing reports and questions. It’s energizing. Donations can be mailed to: Jay Mann, 222 18th Street, Ship Bottom, NJ, 08008-4418. Being Type A I don’t always have the time to mail Thank-you note but, believe me (!), your donations are fully appreciated. J-mann.
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Friday, November 20, 2009:
A full-blown fast break of blues and bass swept the entire length of Holgate earlier today. Not only was everyone in that zone into fish but some serious stripers surfaced – and fled before becoming scale hangers. I heard of three major fish creating their own early releases. Mark J fought a likely 40-lber for a solid 20 minutes, doing all the right stuff to land it only to succumb to the beyond-frustrating hook exit in the wash. Hey, there is always the element of luck in any landing and when it runs out it often does do in dramatic fashion.
Most of the south end action was on chunks. And it wasn’t hard to find fresh bunker with acres of it showing from right next to the beach and way out.
Mid-Island also saw some slammer passages. That zone has decent potential for tomorrow, especially Brant Beach.
Other areas of the Jersey coastline exploded today, both toward Brigantine and up toward Seaside. Randy M was working a charter off the Mansion (IBSP) and was into bass up to the gills. If those just-north bass are chasing bait they could come our way very quickly.
Here’s a herring story off the new wires:
[Portland Press Herald - November 20, 2009 - EDITORIAL: If the New England Fishery Management Council made a mistake by recommending that federal regulators reduce the catch of herring by 45 percent next year, they erred on the side of necessary caution.
The purse seine fishery, which covers an area from Labrador to Cape Hatteras, is the primary source of bait for Maine's lobster fishermen. It also provides herring for canned sardines and other processed fish products.
NEFMC members voted Tuesday to recommend that the National Marine Fisheries Service reduce the allowable catch from 194,000 metric tons this year to 109,000 tons in 2010.
The herring fishery is a special concern for regulators because, due to its small size and abundance, the fish is a important food source for many other species throughout its life cycle.
Herring eggs nourish winter flounder, cod, haddock and red hake, while many species of fish, including sharks and skates, prey on juvenile and adult herring, as do seabirds and marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and seals.
Herring caught along the Maine coast provide bait for the state's $244 million lobstering fishery, but some lobster fishermen use menhaden, redfish or other bait. (Herring) Catches along the Maine coast have been declining since 2006, resulting in a rise in bait prices even as the price of lobster has fallen in the marketplace.
That decline has raised worries among regulators that the total number of herring are also in decline, although they admit that there is not enough information about the fishery to make a solid determination about either the overall condition of the resource or about the impact of the fishery on it.
So, the council put the new limits in place as a precautionary measure while simultaneously calling for a new and widespread catch and bycatch monitoring program to be implemented next year. That can be criticized as a 'play-it-safe' decision based on less than complete information, but it nevertheless is the right one, precisely because complete data are lacking.
While the impact on lobstering will not be negligible, neither would a serious decline in the stock due to overfishing. Herring are too important in the oceanic food chain to be put at risk by catch limits set in ignorance of their impact.
The council made the right decision, and should be supported in it.