Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report



CIA Shags My Column;

NRA Gets Even Nuttier




OBAMA CIA RESPONSE: Not to overplay the whole Osama been Laden thing but I, expectedly, got a goodly number of responses over my column’s segment on his instantaneous Mecca-fication. The oddest communiqué – in fact, one of the oddest ever, of the daily dozens I get here at The SandPaper -- came from all the way over in Indiana, a state located somewhere past Manahawkin.

Although all the other responses to my piece were very positive, this writer somewhat sternly took me to task, in an oddly complementary fashion. He was mildly miffed that I failed to duly mention the part the CIA played, in his words, “by softening up the LZ for the Navy SEALs.”

Wow. I’m guessing this guy is former CIA -- if there is such a thing in a business that seldom fully accepts retirement requests. Hey, you never know when the perfect operative is a 94-year-old beyond-senior citizen cruising around in a walker with tennis ball halves over the bottoms of the walker’s legs. 

“This is Agent Wilber something-or-other. The target just suddenly came out of the building -- and he’s as mean as we thought. Just for fun, he kicked my walker into the street and a pickup truck hit it. Permission to neutralize the bastard – once I get this stupid walker fixed.”

Anyway, this emailer’s use of the “softening up the LZ” expression shows he has, at very least, a military background. Hopefully he didn’t have to experience an actual “softening up.”  

Truth be told, he’s utterly accurate in saying the SEAL’s Pakistani LZ (landing zone) was, indeed, made soft and cuddly thanks to a pillow of CIA intelligence -- fattened by well over a year of back-pocket observations from “deep” undercover CIA folks. Reports indicate they had their telescopic sights squarely on Osama’s private parts – of the Abbottabad compound, that is. These spies were so deep undercover their camo uniforms had a pattern of bricks, soda cans, and candy wrappers to blend in with the urban background.

“Yo, Asbar, I swear I just saw part of that wall take a couple steps.”

“Allah-damnit, Mahad, it’s 8 a.m. and already you’re not right.”


As for the publicizing of the CIA’s role in the been Laden whacking, most of mainstream media gave profuse plaudits to the way our nation’s most secretive warriors got the job done. In fact, this week the White House is releasing surreptitious CIA videos of been Laden nervously pacing within his compound, apparently paining over the best shade of Just for Men “Mustache and Beard” Hair Coloring to use for an upcoming worldwide broadcast on the inefficiency of the U.S. military. He can even be seen consulting with his youngest wife, whom he married when she was something like 13. I guess he was doing some early dipping into the virgin stocks he’d be getting when martyred – just in case. It’s good being an al-Qaeda leader – until that bang on the compound door comes. Anyone remember those “land shark” skits from “Saturday Night Live”?

Pound! Pound!

Bin Laden: “Who’s there?”

Outside voice: “Navy SEALs.”

Bin Labden: “No you’re not. You’re that land shark, aren’t ya?”

Crash! Bang!

“No, we really are NAVY SEALs.”  

Interestingly, the world pictures the U.S.’s CIA operatives in Pakistan as men. Wanna bet? Within a fully sexist realm like Pakistan, women are so insignificant as to be easily overlooked. They say that Osama had a way with the ladies. In a paradoxical way, he became something of a fatal attraction for certain CIA ladies.

So, here’s my official Jay Mann “Fish Story” thumb’s up to those cloak-and-dagger folks of the CIA. If it weren’t for their cagey shadowing of been laden we’d still be sitting around wondering why the hell the CIA get such big bucks. (I never thought I’d ever need to placate the CIA, in any way, shape or form.)

Wondering out loud: Do the CIA agents get any of the $20 million reward for been Laden’s capture? Or do agents all do it like Peter Falk (CIA agent Vince Ricardo) in the truly funny movie “The In-Laws.” It’s a perfect time to rent that classic – to see true CIA excellence. 

I DIG GRANDDAD DREDGES: I was digging for treasure on the mainland last week. I use the term “treasure’ very indulgently -- meaning anything I come across that seems even remotely interesting.

Beneath some thick Tuckerton underbrush, I came across eight heavily-rusted (but still sturdy) steel “tow” dredges, used by back-when baymen to nab crabs, shellfish and whatever. Very historically cool items. 

They’re about five feet long, handmade of steel rods bent at different angles and welded together. Some seriously clever blacksmithing. Each dredge is roughly triangular shaped, with the widest dredging part at the bottom, looking a bit like a push’about lawnmower.

Bay dredges were towed behind or alongside a garvey. Less than environmentally kind, they pretty much gouged the hell out of the bay bottom, scooping up any edible/sellable marine life therein. The digging end of the dredges had scoops, which were tailored for specific targets, including crabs, scallops, eels, oysters, mussels, whatever.

Such nondiscriminating dredges are pretty much outlawed today, though I’m pretty sure Fish and Wildlife enforcement didn’t want me hauling in the ancient ones I found. 

One of the dredges had a quite-cool 6-inch brass ID tag attached, indicating it was probably once legally licensed. Per the name, it was owned, at one time, by a now-deceased Tuckertonian bayman – and one-time schoolteacher. That really adds a face and personality to the gear.

It’s always a jolt of nostalgia when uncovering maritime antiques. Items like these dredges offer instant flashbacks to bayside living back in the day -- before the human masses muscled onboard and overcrowded our hereabouts. Overcrowding, with its pollution and over-harvesting of shellfish, has left very little for lingering baymen to harvest. 

By the by, a couple of these just-dug dredges are now up for adoption. Any museums needing authentic Barnegat Bay items should contact me. Most of them only need some steel wool de-rusting and, possibly, the replacing of wire meshing in the scoop areas.

The one dredge I’m keeping for myself is an ultra-rare, four-bladed (nastily pronged) eel dredge, meant to cut through the mud and impale bottom-hugging eels. It’s kinda ferocious – and likely illegal even back in the day. Hey, you hadda do what you hadda do to get by. Eels would beg to differ. I would allow that dredge to be temporarily displayed. 

NRA NONSENSE: I’ve got to visit redneck territory by focusing on numbnuts in the Florida state legislature.

As we speak, a bullet-fast bill is being finalized that would outlaw doctors, specifically pediatricians, from merely asking parents if they have guns in the house.

The question -- privately presented under terms of patient/doctor confidentiality -- is currently being routinely asked to then help doctors advise parents on the proper securing of such weapons. The same pediatricians also routinely question if a home has a swimming pool, if drugs are within reach of children or if a child’s parents/guardians know how to properly install child automobile seats.

It’s totally frickin’ preventative. Accidental death via guns is one of the leading unnatural killers of children. The doctors are in no way, shape or form covertly striving to rid a home of such weaponry, nor are they then passing the gun info onto law enforcement. They can’t, per confidentiality codes.

If you astutely surmise this moronic gun questioning legislation is actually a National Rifle Association (NRA) issue, you’d be (stupid pun) right on target. Sometimes/always I wish those gun guys would put their mouths on permanent lock – just in case their brains have some random rounds bouncing aimlessly around within. It hurts the integrity of the RFA as it does legitimate battle over real gun ownership issues.

In this case, the NRA has unfortunately chosen to follow the ACLU lead (yet another group of prayerless whackos) by swearing the simple gun question by doctors somehow violates gunners’ human rights. To remedy this, the NRA has goosed its hand-puppet politicos into Florida into devising a law that would silence the guns-in-the-house question. What’s more, the NRA is already advancing the bill’s language to legislatures in at least half a dozen other states.

Of late, the NRA is too often attaining PETA-grade levels of mindlessness. More often than not it’s just to stay in the public limelight – and substantiate collecting millions of dollars in annual dues. The NRA is big business – brains obviously optional

WMIT GETS BIGGER YET: I just got word that the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club’s White Marlin Invitational Tournament is now part of the celebrated World Billfish Series. That marriage took place just this week.

It’s not like the WMIT hasn’t always been a hot ticket, even as something of a small town tourney, but this opens the door to planetary prestigiousness.

On the East Coast, it seems the WMIT will be the most northerly event in the World Billfish Series.

According to WMIT co-director John Fitzgerald, the WMIT is already listed on the WBS calendar – and WBS banners and logos are already on the way. John noted that the folks behind the WBS were excited about bringing the WMIT into its schedule. The club is also a tad keyed up. 

When coupled with WMIT’s recently solidified relationship with the International Game Fish Association’s Offshore World Championships, this latest hookup will open the door to easily the top big game anglers in the world.

I’ll have more on this partnership after giving the WBS folks a call, but, for now, those of you who annually enter the WMIT might want to consider signing up early. There is a 100-vessel cap and, by rule and regulation, it must be first come/first served.

With this added worldly element to the WMIT, I’d like to find a way to maximize how outside folks can get a fish-by-fish, day-by-day account of the July 27 – July 30 tourney. The weigh-in sessions are almost always a blast. Maybe I’ll phone in accounts to a local  radio station – or even do video updates on the club hot website: www.thewmit.com.

For more info on the World Billfish Series go to www.fishwbs.com

REGISTRY RATTLING: As you should well know, the DEP has instituted the NJ Saltwater Registry at www.saltwaterregistry.nj.gov

I'm done registering – in a flash. It took roughly 90 seconds of filling in blanks. If anyone says it's too much of a pain to register, maybe they really shouldn't be doing anything as strenuous as fishing.

The required info is very standard fare for almost any important -- and even many unimportant -- registration forms. If it’s not too much work, try to have, at the ready, your name, home address, home phone, DOB, email and the last four digits of your social security number. 

I'm one of the many wondering what in bloody hell the DEP is thinking in levying such sinisterly high fines for failure to register. It's gotta be a revenue hunt. The DEP'shas decreed that any angler who is caught fishing without being registered OR fails to have a registry card on their person may be liable to a penalty of not less than $300 or more than $3,000 for the first offense, and not less than $500 or more than $5,000 for any subsequent offense.

Notice that failure to have a card in their possession angle. Brutal, especially for someone like myself. I’ve actually gotten so exciting to go fishing I get to the beach and have realize I’ve forgotten my rod – and pants.

The RFA is angry over the big number retributions laid down by the DEP.  “Here’s part of an RFA press release: Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland) has called on Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner (DEP) Bob Martin to halt plans to charge residents an initial civil penalty of up to $3,000 for failing to register with the new free state fishing registry, the product of a bill he sponsored. … Van Drew intends to introduce legislation which would scale back the penalties for noncompliance, imposing a warning for a first offense and a fine of $20 to $30 for each subsequent offense.”

I still worry about vindictiveness on the part of the DEP, after failing to get the for-pay registration it had sought. I can assure that we haven’t heard the end of registry-related hell raising. Just wait until the first fines are levied – or enforcement begins raiding tourneys seeking proper paperwork.

RUNDOWN: Well, this week we can launch into rave reviews by going to the heated bass battles taking place off Seaside Heights.

Firstly, the bunker pods up there are like nothing anyone modern has ever seen. An old-timer I know recently marked his 65th fishing anniversary and he swears up and down that he’s never seen bunker schools like those currently off Ocean and Monmouth counties. I bring up the bait before the bass because nowadays the bunker pods and the catching of big bass are intricately interrelated. The more bunker, the better the bassing. No bunker, time for fluking.


As if a semi-yawner, folks banging the bass are talking about arm-tiring striper catching sessions as if it’s just another springtime in Jersey waters. It has gotten a bit expected. And the season is just getting underway. “It’s just like we’ve been seeing the past few years,” was one casual read on the super stripering. Common bass-taking techniques include trolling spoons or snag-and-dropping.


Appropriately, there is a lot of catch, photo and release going on. I still believe NJ anglers catch-and-release at a rate way higher than any other striper state. Rightfully, we aren’t shy about taking home an occasional eating-size striper.


Sidebar: Cell phone photos are getting so advanced they’re as good as better-grade cameras. A buddy shoots with a Samsung phone hosting a 10-megapixel digital camera capacity. Hell, that’s vivid enough for a full-sized newspaper cover shot. Whatever cell phone you’re tottin,’ it’s the quickest and easiest way to document a fish without taking its life. A photo lasts forever – way past May 21.


The bayside of LBI is still holding bass. They have thinned out a bit but there is no problem finding them at prime locations. In fact, virtually any bayside locale with deeper water can offer stripers, most often after dark. Coolest report was a builder who caught a keeper bass during a lunch break taken on a dock toward the South End. It went for a Yo-zuri.


Here’s an e-report: “… Now that the many tourneys are started, I won't be talking much about specific locales or technique, but I stumbled on some northerly Island based bass about 5 days before the Simply Bassin' started. Ironically, they showed up with the arrival of the masses of bunker. There were plugged bass in the dark, approaching 45lbs. Four fish were 22 to 38 lbs. Old school rules...jig and pig down deep is all I'm saying. Today (Monday) I fished the mid-island surf in good-looking conditions and caught 5 to 7 lb bluefish. Joe H.”

As for the surf, it’s anything but bassiferous. There have been a few fish taken but I also got a goodly number of skunk reports.

Among the non-skunks were the first three fish to reach the 2011 Simply Bassin’ leaderboard, a land-based event. 

Currently holding the top slot is perennial power angler Tim Stumpf, who nabbed a 28-12, 43-inch Loveladies striper, and using bunker on May 10. It was weighed in at Surf City Bait and Tackle. In second place is Andrew Schultz, who bested an 18-4 bass in Holgate, using bunker, weighed in at Jingles, May 7. The same day, Steve Warren took his third-spot 5-12 striper in Peahala Park, also using bunker and weighed in at Oceanside Bait and Tackle.

The 8-week Simply Bassin’ event is just getting started so make sure to sign up.

The black drum hunters have had it hot and cold. The hot was a couple fish pushing 50 pounds, one kept the other released. At the same time, we’re now running on prime drumfish migrations time but no corresponding super showing of fish at places like Little Egg Inlet westward. A drumfish aficionado offered that most apropos of advice, one that fits into many fisheries: go with huge baits. I’m forbidden from telling his secret bait but he uses major chunks of it. I can tell you this, it stinks – and is made to do so with some aging.

Fluking is far from futile but it sure isn’t sizzling. Three different vessels I know found scant few take-home flatties. In one case, a vessel’s fluke of the day came when they switched from drifting for fluke to some general bayside trolling. I now fully suggest that approach, especially after getting word from Paul P. that he mugged fish by slow torlling in west Double Creek. Paul had loads of blues and some better bass pulling along diving plugs.

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