Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday Oct. 4, 2014 -- High water and serious wave action ... Holgate entrance is dying fast.


The current six-foot-plus swell is joining with high astronomical tides to put a real hurting on the beaches. There is overwash on all unreplenished beaches – and even some that were replenished. Quick look – and the tide isn’t even high yet.



For new buggyists: There is an entire different sandy constitution when water/waves overwash beaches. The sand essentially plumps up, while getting loose. It literally becomes quicksand in very short order. Hell, during the replenishment work, there were giant work vehicles, meant to work in wet sand, getting stuck when the beaches got overwashed by waves.

What’s more, sometimes the overwash water from waves sinks into the sand, so there is no ponding showing. But the water is still in play. Just watch what happens when you drive on recently overwashed low spots. Seeya! Even tow companies can’t help until the tide drops.

Late-breaking news: 

Escaped crabs delay US Airways flight

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [ABC News] - October 3, 2014 - 

A U.S. Airways flight from New York to Charlotte was delayed after a shipment of crabs escaped in the plane's cargo area, an airline spokesman confirmed to ABC News.

Flight 890 was scheduled to leave LaGuardia Airport at 6:59 p.m. Thursday, but instead left at 7:25 p.m. due to "some seafood cargo problems," the spokesman said.

Passengers tweeted about the situation, writing that crew members were forced to round up the crabs.

Yes, crabs.

Passengers were amused, surprised and bewildered.

After the crabs were rounded up, the plane took off, arriving in Charlotte about half an hour late at 9:30 p.m.

October 3, 2014: Today is not what the angling doc ordered. I bring up the “do” since a few angler have come down with nasty cold-like somethings. 

I felt fine physically but got so skunked today that I was worried I’d need to take a tomato juice and hydrogen peroxide shower. Anyone who knows skunk stink knows that reference. And tomato juice doesn’t work anyway.

But back to fishing. I plugged from sunrise to midday and not even one stinkin’ little bluefish to show. Kinda weird, actually.

I was actually hoping for small blues. I have a batch of bluefish jerky drying as we speak. But it’s a small batch and a load of folks want a taste. And it is surely tasty.

The best size blues for my spicy jerky are those in the one-pound zone. Each fillet is the prefect thickness for the jerky. It dries to a desirable chewy texture, without getting too dry (and fibery) or too moist in the middle, common with fillets that are too thick.

Below: Triggerfish jerky. 

I might do a video on my very simple jerky method. But, as noted, I seem to be getting snubbed by even the blues. I’ve tried striper jerky and it doesn’t work. Tuna and mako make incredible jerky but is takes a load of meat to come up with just a humble bag of finished product. By the by, I got my jerky making skills in Florida from a fellow who commercially made mako jerky – to die for. A small bag was, like, ten bucks.


The mullet run is close to no-more. If that’s true, it royally sucked. 

On the other side of the migratory coin, the showing of spearing is astounding. I stared into the shallows for hours atop hours today and the cascading river of spearing never slowed. I could have stage dived on them – had them catch me and pass me along the spearing conga lone. This spearing surge has to be a good sign for the upcoming bass bite. Stripers love spearing and similar-looking rainfish.

Below: Note the small mouths on silversides/spearing. 

 Below: The much larger-mouthed rainfish, technically the bay anchovy. 

Already onto the spearing are ocean herring. They were going airborne all morning. Talk about a fast fish. The come into a few inches of water after spearing and they’re so blisteringly fast all you see is an afterimage of where they flew through.

Ocean (Atlantic) herring are decent chunk baits, with a meat that actually look better than bunker – but can’t light a match to the catching power of fresh bunker. However, when bunker is in short supply (when commercial netters can’t get out), fresh herring at the bait shops comes into its own, as the freshest bait on hand. It also becomes more popular with ravenous fall gamefish, which also have a hard time finding bunker when the weather is bad.  

I find live-lined herring are killer on bigger bass. The problem is they’re so large you need heavier gear just to swim them. It’s best to fish them right after they’re caught, though they will survive fairly well in a buggy or boat live-well.

To catch ocean herring, get where they’re splashing and throw out a Subiki-type rig.

Sleepy time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh7sAKw78J0




Watermen question striped bass science as ASMFC prepares to cut harvest


SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Star Democrat] By Josh Bollinger - October 3, 2014 -

WYE MILLS. MD,  There are many options in front of the commercial striped bass fishery right now.

Striped bass, known as rockfish, are said by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to be on a downward trend toward overfishing, although over-fishing is not occurring.

ASMFC hopes to turn the trend around, after all the effort put in to date to recover the rockfish population, according to Mike Waine, the fishery management plan coordinator at the ASMFC.

The ASMFC's striped bass management board is considering three options to reduce the striped bass fishery both coastwide and in the Chesapeake Bay. The board is expected to decide at a conference in late October whether it wants to spread out the regulations over three years or make the whole reduction in one year.

"There are a lot of different perspectives of what should be done, and not everybody agrees with each other, and that's usually the case," Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service Director Tom O'Connell said Thursday, Sept. 25, at Chesapeake College at a public hearing held on the proposed regulations.

He encouraged the watermen in the room to maintain a productive conversation with Waine, who was presenting the proposals for ASMFC.

"This is a very complicated and somewhat heated discussion on what options are going to go forward," O'Connell said.

The first option in front of the management board is to reduce commercial striped bass harvest by 25 percent all in one year. The second is to reduce it by 17 percent the first year, and Waine said that would achieve conservation over three years comparable to the 25 percent being taken in one year. The third option is to take 7 percent reductions incrementally over three years. For each option, the reductions can be taken from either 2013 harvest levels or 2012 harvest levels, since a 14 percent reduction already was enacted on the Maryland fishery for the 2013 season.

There's also an option for a conservation equivalency, or something done in a state to make sure the stock isn't overfished.

The Chesapeake Bay is where most of the coastwide striped bass population spawns.

Watermen at the public hearing on Thursday talked about a resident population of striped bass in the Bay that isn't being accounted for in the proposed ASMFC regulations.

The regulations being handed down by the ASMFC, a body that controls Atlantic coast fisheries, are aimed at reducing harvest on the female population.

But 70 to 90 percent of the rockfish harvested between the months of June and January from the Chesapeake Bay are males, as found through Maryland Department of Natural Resources research.

And the ASMFC doesn't have a specific Chesapeake Bay reference point for female stock mortality from fishing as a conservation guideline. Waine said the Chesapeake Bay is incorporated into the coastwide reference point to account for mortality on the small fish in the Bay and mortality on the larger fish along the coast.

"The technical committee wasn't able to produce it for this document here, and what's happening is that we are currently working on Chesapeake Bay-specific reference points," Waine said.

Waine said the technical committee, which is charged in ASMFC with coming up with the specific reference points, is going to incorporate Maryland, Potomac River Fisheries Commission and Virginia data into the Bay-specific reference point, but he didn't know when it will be available.

The number of males in the Bay's fishery and the lack of a specific Bay reference point was the point of contention with a lot of watermen at the public hearing on Thursday.

Robert Brown, president of the Maryland Watermen's Association, said female fish are only in the Chesapeake Bay for three months out of the season.

"The reference points in the Bay, which we don't have, we need, and the technical committee has failed us because they should have been done," Brown said. "Saving a male fish does not protect a spawning stock." Brown said the Bay states should be allowed to do the conservative equivalency option, considering the Bay's unique stock and the science already collected by DNR.

Charter Captain Rob Newberry said since there is no specific reference point for the Bay, there is no science to back up claims that there needs to be a reduction in the fishery's harvest.

"To enable a reduction like this, there has to be a quality of data presented There hasn't been," Newberry said, calling it a violation of the Data Quality Act.

He said an economic impact study hasn't been done on the regulations, which is a violation of the National Environmental Protection Act.

Most associations represented at the public hearing Thursday were in favor of taking a 7 percent reduction for three consecutive years, if a reduction has to be implemented.

"That's more absolute than taking it all out at once," said Ed O'Brien, a vice president of the Maryland Charter Boat Association.

O'Brien said it would be ambiguous what would happen that second year if the reduction was taken all at once.

He said taking the whole reduction in one year would result in a socioeconomic disaster in Maryland. "Anybody can see that there's some real ambiguity in the science right now," O'Brien said.

Brown wasn't the only one to say the technical committee failed when it came to formulating a Chesapeake Bay-specific reference point.

Tony Friedrich, executive director of the Maryland Coastal Conservation Association, was the first to say the technical committee failed. But while Brown called for the 7 percent reduction over three years to ease the pain of any socioeconomic impact, Friedrich called for the whole 25 percent to be taken in one year for the sake of the fish itself.

"We're here and we're not going to be here again until 2018, and this is 50-50 chance; it's a coin toss to bring these fish back up to target," Friedrich said at the public hearing. "What I'm saying is I have a son and I want him to catch striped bass. And how many of you guys feel the same way?" A few recreational fishermen stood up over the public comment period of the hearing to back Friedrich's call for the maximum reduction, but most preferred taking 7 percent over the course of three years out of the options presented.

Some also called for a greater accountability in the recreational fishery, saying there is zero accountability when it comes to reporting recreational catches.

O'Connell, who sits on the ASMFC Striped Bass Management Board, said DNR is going to fight to get the Chesapeake Bay specific reference point.

He said that DNR won't make a full decision on what route it will take in the striped bass fishery until after the ASMFC late-October meeting.


PEI researchers figure out how to get invasive green crabs to molt for potential soft shell market

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [CBC News] - October 3, 2014 - 

Researchers at UPEI say they've made an important discovery which could help in the fight against an invasive species on Canada's east coast.

It could also provide fishermen with a new source of revenue, and restaurants with a signature dish.

Green crabs are an invasive species from Europe. You can find them up and down the Atlantic coast. They're spreading, feeding on profitable native shellfish and destroying valuable eel grass habitat.

"We've done some lab experiments which demonstrate that show green crab are able to eat 30 small oysters per day," said researcher Luke Poirier.

"They can also do damage to soft shell clams and to mussels."

This spring Fisheries and Oceans Canada offered up commercial green crab licenses to P.E.I. fishermen, but so far there have been no takers because there's no market.

The trouble is green crab are small, and it is difficult to get the meat out of the shell. Researcher Sophie St-Hilaire is looking to how Europeans deal with the crustaceans.

"The Italians in Venice, they've been harvesting the green crab as a soft shell crab for hundreds of years," said St-Hilaire.
Fried and eaten whole in the shell, green crabs are a delicacy in Italy. The raw product can sell for $40 a pound.

Catching crabs when they are vulnerable

But for that to work the crabs have to be harvested during or just before moulting, when the shells are soft, and researchers have not been able to work out when North American green crabs do that. That's the mystery St-Hilaire believes the UPEI researchers have solved.

They believe the crabs are prompted to moult based based on water temperature, and that the moulting is somehow co-ordinated so they all cast their shells at the same time. One theory is the co-ordination is a defence mechanism. If they didn't moult together, those in the soft shell stage would be vulnerable to predation by other members of their same species, which is highly aggressive and known for its voracious appetite.

Because they all seem to moult together, they all spend about 24 hours in a vulnerable but more docile state before the new shells harden.

The strategy for fishermen would be to catch the crabs just before moulting. Then processors could manipulate the water temperature to try to trigger moulting, and sort crabs for processing as they cast their hard shells.

St-Hilaire and her team are ready to work with a local seafood processor to develop a frozen export product. She also hopes to work with P.E.I. chefs to see what they can do with them.

"What we're trying to find is a product that will be of high enough value that it's economically feasible for commercial fishermen to sell it," said St-Hilaire.

St-Hilaire said she has tried the deep fried green crabs, and they are delicious.

Below: What a molt looks like: 


 Capt. Dave DeGennaro 

Hi Flier Sportfishing 


Blowfish tomorrow (Sat, Oct 4). They're here in numbers finally and plenty of good size ones in the mix. Sure the forecast says rain but who knows when it will start, if it really will, and how bad it will be. We"ll be anchored in the bay, how bad could it be? We could always run for cover to take an intermission and start again. The ocean is going to be rough so this is a way to get out fishing.....slicker up! Charter only on this one, not enough time to put together an Open Boat trip. Flexible on times but 7AM to Noon is a good slot. Sailing from our Barnegat marina.


Next up is Sunday, Oct 5. This is the fish day for outside. It is supposed to start blowing hard from the west Sat afternoon all the way through Sunday. This will lay the ocean right out to flat calm. I'm going to move the boat up to Manasquan Inlet Sat afternoon/evening so we can run north for stripers. I got a good report for fish on the troll. I know most of us would prefer to catch them on bait or jigs but the only boats that connected were trolling.  Anything from shorts to 20 to 30 pound fish. I never have a problem saying where, or how, when it's my report to give, but this one was given to me, so I really don't have the right to say where until I catch them myself. Hoping to connect with stripers and maybe some big blues. Expect this to be a trolling trip. I do have a fun way of wirelining them, though, with short rods, only 150 ft of wireline, and a bucktail/pork rind combo. You hold the rod while we troll and jig the lure. It is a train wreck of a hit! This is "old school" 1970's stuff but it still works. Open Boat 6:30 AM to 12:30 PM. $160 per person. 3 people max. All fish are shared. Leaving from our Manasquan Inlet marina.


STG First cast! It's got to be the hat John.
STG First cast! It's got to be the hat John.

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