Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Sunday, July 15, 2012: It’s fun when I get a big burst of communiqués from all y’all, as I have this weekend. I’ve privately answered most but have published a few in here.
The news of the day, albeit yesterday, was the massive influx of rays, especially in the Beach Haven area -- but also extending all the way to the north end. Crowds of beachgoing folks got a sting ray show like they had never seen, helped along by many of the rays coming right next to the beach to feed on sandcrabs and isolated showings of coquina clams.
The sandbar (brown) sharks are surely on the stingrays’ tails and will unquestionably be catchable for many nights to come. Please release after hooking and photographing.
By the by, the jaws parts of cow-nosed rays are so sharp and powerful (beak-like) that they can chew apart even tightly packed oyster beds.
Oddly, there are some conservation groups that claim the species is approaching a threatened or even endangered population level. While I always err on behalf of the animals, I find that claim very unlikely if not downright preposterous. I think they’re one of those species exploding in numbers due to the lack of their biggest predator: sharks. I’ll gladly entertain any scientific studies enumerating otherwise. For now, if you wanna try one for dinner, go for it.
On the subject of rays – and numerous maritime creatures and events, I want to once-again hype a super-fun LBI website: http://exit63.wordpress.com/, done by Jim V.
Check out his underwater video of tons of spot. Boy, if they can’t draw in some major bass, what can?
Jim and I also email a lot. Here’s one:
Jay, Saw your blog post on mole crabs. I was actually going to write (but decided not to bug you) that here in North Beach the entire tideline is dead mole crabs. They are broken up. Shells and legs, very few whole specimens. But imagine it does not take much to pulverize them, which is what makes me think the event is recent. It is a significant amount though and runs the length of the beaches. Most people would not notice
but I'm an avid sea glass looker and have never seen anything like it. Thought I'd mention it and would love to hear any possible causes for so many mole crab skeletons.
( I'll give it a look, Jim. There are so many sandcrabs I'm wondering if that shell showing is just the excessive die-off from so many getting crushed under the feet of bathers. Also, sandcrabs -- as with most crustaceans -- shed their entire outer shells when molting. Shed shells are very thin -- and a large shed occurred not long ago with the full moon. Nearly impossible to tell a shed from a DOA. By the by, rays go through astounding quantities of sandcrabs, regurgitating the shells. Thanks for the heads-up. J-mann. )
Jay, As a dedicated hermit crab rescuer (I rescue one from evil Island merchants each year and treat them to my luxurious crabitat full of organic fruits, veggies) I can't believe molting never crossed by mind. Looks like shed shell but you're right: who can tell?
On the cownose, 2 days ago I was out in the big surf and I would say
they were numbering in the thousands. In deep water (and I usually hang deep and wait for the one or two freak waves each afternoon) I was completely surrounded the entire session and they made only limited efforts to avoid me. I saw more break the surface than ever before most likely because of the traffic.
I think you put those 2 things together and it all adds up.
Also on the North Beach scene, we have more Oystercatchers than I've ever seen. One local family, and some other random ones that show up. Cheers, Jim
I was out on my deck a little while ago ( 10:00 PM), and saw what I think was a badger. At first I thought skunk but then looking, I noticed it was quite wide - at least a foot across - white strip on the head but not on the back. The tail was short and wide with a white tip. The overall color was slate grey. The length was maybe 328 to 30 inches and it had a "waddling" gait. I wasn't aware of these critters in New Jersey, especially in Cherry Hill . I thought these were more of an open field animal. Have you ever seen any? Any comments? Thanks
(Harry, you might be further adding to long-standing debate on whether or not badgers can be found in the Garden State.
I have a couple controversial photos of NJ badgers, one badger apparently hanging in a backyard at night and another of one having been trapped. When I tried to confirm the shots via phone calls, I couldn't get a definitive answer on the origins of the pics. In fact, it is so akin to backtracking UFO photos I'm wondering where badgers originated.
When in doubt with a fairly out-there ID, I always use the reasonably reliable truism that an out-of-range creature might be a lost/released pet, though you gotta be dedicated to make a pet of a badger – a bitch of a beast when it comes to mood swings, and backing up mood swings with claws and a bite to make any owner unproud.
If you could photo any prints, I could make a quick ID. Obviously, photos would be best but I realize not everyone is willing to put hours into maybe getting a picture of a nocturnal animal.