Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

July 18, 2012 -- Weekly column (partial)

George Nettie Finck -- 

"We caught that mako 35 miles off shore Thanks. Captain George Finck [Sparetime charters]"



A New Causeway Approacheth;

The Angling Beat Passed Onward



Boy do I have a ton of subject matter this week. I know some folks hate when this column gets long – and I respect that. And to those folks I say, “Your mother wears combat boots.”

I’m not sure why that always makes me laugh but I had relatives who would say it when I was a really little kid and even then I’d crack up every time I heard it.


While heat has not overly impacted our LBI fishing realm thanks to sea breezes, the mainland has not fared as well, winning free admission to the “Excessive Heat Advisory” ball. Interestingly, there could be some below normal temps by week’s end, i.e. when many of you are reading this.

By the by, please take advantage of The Sandpaper’s excellent new “cloud” edition at http://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com/, or simply Google “the sandpaper.” This column is usually on there by Thursday, so you can get a read if you’re back home and out of region.

If you want to get at my daily blogs, go to http://jaymanntoady.ning.com, or Google “Jay Mann.” Loads of stuff lately. Also, years of archives.

A FLARE-UP TOPIC: I was at a nearby mega-store during near 100-degree heat and parked next to a running van. While technically you can’t allow vehicles to idle in NJ, I fully believe the state should create an exception during high heat advisories -- providing somebody is actually inside a running albeit parked vehicle. That said, it sure seemed there wasn’t a soul in the running van, so I kinda leaned over toward the rolled up passenger window. Yikes!

Out of the darkened interior of the van erupted a pair of white-and-black foo-foo dogs, hell-bent on nipping my face clean off.

For their van-protecting effort, the little buggers got free nose jobs, as their stubby snouts smacked the glass hard enough to send both of them tumbling over backwards – before re-erupting at the window, spattering the glass with their piss, vinegar and spittle.

While their tiny little brains hadn’t quite mastered the concept of glass, I still gave them high marks for offering such a pit bullish display.

By the by, I love all dogs. So, for all you foo-foo dog lovers who think I’m dissing small-fry canines, I issue the hackneyed slogan: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but yada, yada, yada. 

Anyway, as I headed into the store, I began questioning the need to even bring pets out in the brutal heat, even with the AC in play.

Sure, Mutt and Jeff always go along for the ride but there should be thermal points where you put the human foot down and say, “Stay home” and the dogs obey -- without purposely running around knocking over Roseville vases in retaliation for being left behind. 

Good: Vehicles left running in the heat to protect people sitting in them. Dubious: Vehicles left idling to protect pets inside. They shouldn’t even be in the frickin’ parking lot on 90-dgree-plus days. Obviously, if you refuse to deprive your pet of unfettered tag-along rights, AC is a must as you shop.

Just today (Tuesday), local police responded to an idling-vehicle “lock-out.” A gal found her running vehicle locked with her dogs inside. Clues on what happened: Keys were in the ignition; dogs were in the vehicle, dogs act out after owner left; paws met locking mechanism. And if the pooches had accidentally hit the gear shifter? Think roll-offs like that don’t happen? Watch YouTube under “Dog crashes car.” 

CONFLICTED HOUND: I once wrote in here about the time I was alerted to a nearing-death hound in oven-ized parked vehicle. Half a dozen insanely concerned people had gathered around the truck. 

When I got there, the death’s door retriever was nobly trying to maintain his vehicle-protecting attack mode. That show of teeth and temper kept us from simply reaching inside to unlock the doors.

In lieu of breaking out the back window with a sledgehammer (something I don’t mind doing even just for fun), I asked if anyone had some bottled water. It was a grocery parking lot and a lady run up with two half-gallon spring water containers.

As I poured water in through the window crack, you’ve never seen such a conflicted creature. The poor hound didn’t lap the water, he literally chugged it down, eyeing me with an “Oh, mister, thank-you so much!” gaze. But every few chugs, he would stop, take breath, snarl viciously and bare his teeth, before totally dropping the act and retuning to his “Oh, mister, thank-you so much!” chugging.

The cops came and I was later told the owner was seriously fined.

NEW CAUSEWAY BRIDGE NON UPDATE: I realize a load of you fishing folks aren’t here during the winter so I want to give you the latest news on the building of a new, yet-unnamed Causeway bridge – along with fixing up of the Causeway’s three trestle (little) bridges and the near total disassembly of the old Causeway bridge, a.k.a. the Dorland J. Henderson Memorial Bridge. 

The entire re-Causeway effort is called the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge Project, being done by the NJ DOT. The project has four phases, called “contracts.”

Contract One will see the new bridge being built just to the south of the old timer – the current “Big Bridge”. It will eventually carry all eastbound traffic to the Island, after the old bridge is fully rebuilt and capable of carrying all westbound traffic off LBI.  

Note: The new, to-be-built bridge will take over all traffic – east and west -- during the work on the trestle bridges (smaller bridges) and the old bridge. 

IT’S REALLY HAPPENING: I chatted with a DOT spokesperson on Monday and was sorta stunned to learn that Contract One will actually begin next year, right on schedule.

After years of hemming and hawing over the project, an actual etched-in-concrete start time is a stunner. Sure you can give me that “I’ll see it when I believe it” bit of dyslexia but the required $128 million is in the kitty. And that definitely gets thing going. Bids will be taken this coming spring and spades will fly by next winter.

What I’m really waiting to see is the very detailed final design plans – the proverbial blueprints. Those will reach state authorities – and, soon after, yours truly -- early this winter.

I’m pretty good at reading that technical stuff so I’ll be scrutinizing how the architects and engineers plan on fitting an entire new span just to the south of the existing one without taking a big chunk of Bonnet Island, to the southeast. That zone contains billboards and the famed Clam Shack remains.

Although I’m told the project won’t move much earth thereabouts, I notice the project’s final design phase includes acquiring rights of way and “Access Design Agreements executed with property owners whose driveways are affected by the project.”

Contract Two will include work on two of the trestle bridges. I’d like to think that’s when we might stump for a fishing pier. However, such “aesthetic” attractions falls under a rather ambiguous segment of the overall project. It’s worded, “The project may also provide opportunities for the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) to improve public access to the waterfront, including areas for fishing and crabbing.”

You don’t have to have a deep streak of skepticism to distrust that unsimple word “may.” I’ve read through most of the DOT’s “Project Overview” to the Manahawkin Bridge Project and that may be the only may in it. 

(Of course, if you happen to be a pedestrian or a bicyclist, you’re looking good in the future Causeway flow of things.

Per the overview, a six-foot sidewalk will run along the west side of the entire Causeway. Hell, you and a couple buddies could stagger along that.

For bike folks, you’ll be getting “wider outside shoulders on the twin Manahawkin Bay Bridges and five-foot bike lanes on the trestle bridges.”

Five foot!? How the hell do they rate? For years, I’ve been tediously fishing off those 30-inch walkways currently atop the trestle bridges.

Contract Three – to begin in maybe 2016 or so -- is a tad foreboding if you have close ties to the Old Causeway Bridge. In the DOT’s terms: “The entire Manahawkin Bay Bridge superstructure will be removed and replaced.”

Uh, is that “removed” as in (pause) removed? Explain how that’s doesn’t then become a “new” bridge, albeit once removed.

OK, that’s enough updating for now, though I’ll note that Phase Four includes a load of high-impact roadwork in Ship Bottom, to ready 8th and 9th streets for floods of water and people and near Marsha Drive in Stafford.

Hey, you got any question about this bridge building, email me. I got some friends in the business.

THE BIG PASS-ON:  I was raised when our nation was weathering racial turmoil to beat the strictly segregated band. It was my life-move to Hawaii that vanquished any racial profiling I had been taught growing up hereabouts. Skin-wise, landing in Honolulu, I touched down amid more shades of white, brown and in-between than I knew existed.

On Maui, my adopted isle, we wouldn’t have known where to start racially profiling and upheaving -- had it even entered out minds. It didn’t.  Hell, you couldn’t tell genetically-assigned skin color from the overly tanned tourists visiting from around the world.

I use that as a lead-in to a stunning phone conversation I had over the weekend with an African American angler planning to visit the Jersey shore from Callie.  He was calling me for some tips on what will be biting.

It didn’t take long a-phone for me to realize I was actually in the aural company of fishing greatness. With remarkable casualness, the caller noted fishing trips he had made to places ranging from South America to the South Pacific to northern Canada. In fact, I began to wonder why he was contacting me -- and suggested he could teach me during his visit. That’s when he dropped a well-timed bomb.  

“Oh, one more thing, Jay, do you remember a fellow named Ralph E. Jones?”

Did I remember Ralph E. Jones!? He was my Hawaiian-met roomy who traveled with me to Untied States International University in San Diego and then to college in Mexico City. He was instant family.

“Well, I’m Ralph’s son, David.”

And here I thought flashbacks were for the other guy. I literally got woozy. To say Ralph times were good times would leave “good” gasping for breath. They were amazing times, A-Company.  

Sadly, I new old Ralph had passed years ago from health problems. But an amazing semi-cosmic angling angle arose during this phone-based family reunion.

During our studies in San Diego, Ralph and I dormed at a place called Sunset Cliffs, literally overlooking the Pacific. That terrain was decidedly my surfing and fishing world, one I introduced to Ralph. He loved to try things.

Ralph college-tried and failed miserably at surfing. He was convinced that “black folks just sink.” While I didn’t believe that, he seeded my mind to where every time he’d fall off the board, I freaked out. I became pretty famed for screaming to other nearby surfers “Grab the black man!” Which they dutifully did. Everyone loved Ralph.

However, one thing that Ralph took to like a fish in water was angling. Growing up, he had never once fished. So, using what my dad had taught me from just about my birth onward, I began teaching him everything from tying on a hook to hunting indigenous baits among the rocks.

Teaching Ralph anything was a blast. He was the most naturally funny guy in existence.  While he spoke immaculate university-quality English when speaking to others, he would talk to himself, ceaselessly, in what I dubbed Ralphese. It was some sort of black vernacular that even Eddie Murphy wouldn’t be able to emulate – if he could stop laughing long enough to try.

When he was, for instance, having trouble hooking on a live bait – one of Ralph’s pet peeves about fishing -- he’d begin a nonstop Ralphese diatribe, during which I would understand only the cuss words, which he pronounced perfectly, like a British diplomat sipping absinthe.

Anyway, Ralph became an instant die-hard angler. It was with an utter sense of achievement – and deeply imbedded nostalgia -- that I realized he had passed my training onto his son, who is doing the same with his three kids.

I now doubly understand the concept of families fishing together, staying together -- and the truly tangible benefits of efforts like Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs.

By the by, Ralph had a genius IQ, so I wasn’t surprised to hear his son is an ace in Silicon Valley – and plans on opening a sportsman’s escape when he retires.


[CBS] July 17, 2012

 Capt’n Elmers in Orleans sells a lot of lobsters, but not many like this one.

“I had its tail on my shoulder and I had each claw in one of my hands, and it was as long as my arms and as big as my torso. It’s giant,” said Manager Elise Costa.

Costa said the lobster’s claws were each about one foot long.

Source: CBS

“Usually, for every four and a half pounds of live lobster, once you cook it and clean it, you get one pound of meat. So 21 divided by four and a half, that would give you about five pounds of meat,” said Costa.

Costa says a 27-pound lobster was caught off the coast of Maine in February, but catching a big lobster is becoming a rarity.

“They have changed the regulations and put what’s called a max gauge on some of these larger lobsters, and to the best of my knowledge, it’s one of the only areas in New England that doesn’t have a max gauge yet,” said Costa.

The plan is to show the lobster off for a few days and then either sell it or raffle it for charity.

“Often when we have lobsters this large, people come in to catch them, and they like to release them, which is kinda cool,” said Costa.

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