Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Monday Aug. 17, 09 -- Wind, whitecaps and rays

Monday, August 17, 2009: Waves: 2 feet. Water temps: Remain 80-ish. Water clarity: Very good.

Winds picked up throughout the day with plenty of whitecaps and south-to-north current by afternoon. Nice early-day drift for fluke became too fast and most boat in the ocean headed in. Not a thing has changed on the flattie hook-up front. No drifts without fish and few drifts with keepers. There is a tendency for keepers to be a bit bunched up so more than a few folks use the old Clorox bottle marker drop when a better fish is landed. Others spend the extra bucks for something a little more sophisticated to mark a spot. There are even recreational-grade transmitter makers. I prefer to just pop smoke with old Vietnam era water grenades. (I’m not serious.)

A couple more cobia. I’ll be doing a small write-up on same for my weekly blog. They’re actually a fascinating fish – and premier mooches.

I have even more reports of literally clouds of baitfish in the bay, like many bayside residents have never seen before. It seems they’re bunker, though some might be mullet about to make their move to mustering points near inlets.

I mentioned scallops yesterday and had two quick emails asking if they can be kept. No. That’s my read on the regulations, buttressed by the fact that baymen are trying to get the state to change the regulation so they can collect a minimal amount of bay scallops for personal use. If you know differently, let me know. I have a call into Nacote Creek to get Fish and Wildlife Enforcement’s read.

Rays remain everywhere, though somewhat oddly, they seem to be in smaller groups than in past years when they would stay in massive congregations. Surfcasters jonesing for just about anything to reel in have been more than willing to fight a ray or two. Not only does it get the angling adrenaline going – always the chance of a massive bass (or not) – plus a midday hookup never fails to reel in beachgoers from every direction. I’ve seen more than few anglers fighting rays suck in their beer bellies as admirers gather. I’ve also seen 50 or more beachgoers gather to watch the final pull-in of a ray. Then there’s the photo opportunity, with the flustered ray the focal point – before eventual release. I saw one fellow keep a ray a week back. It was fine by me and we shared the best way to clean it for dining. I talked the big talk, since I do, in fact, know how to best get the meat off the corrugated cartilage that run through the wings. However, I fully fibbed when I described the ray’s taste. I based my ray read on the flavor of skate, which I’ve eaten a dozen or more times. I also recalled a contest down in the Chesapeake where top chefs developed delectable recipes for preparing rays – and extending those recipes to include skate.

Here’s the BHCFA report:

As the ocean water temperatures near 80-degrees, the fishing for the boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association has been heating up.
Captain Adam Nowalsky of the “Karen Ann II” out of Great Bay Marina reports water temperatures in the upper 70’s and a mixed bag of fish as a result. He reports lots of action on sea bass, fluke, triggerfish, and small blues along with some stories of good sized mahi-mahi, cobia, and big brown sharks.
Recent trips on the “Karen Ann II” included the Caruth family of Royersford, Pa., who saw birthday boy Brandon celebrate his 11th with a triggerfish and bluefish. The Bujak family of Drexel Hill, Pa. had a fair catch of sea bass to 2-pounds along with a 20-inch fluke. Bill Bruner had a trip with sea bass to 3 pounds and a 22-inch fluke.
Captain Adam’s other trips included the Salisbury House Group of Pottstown, Pa, the Holman Auto Group of Maple Shade, and the Sutphen family of Somerville who all found action on a mix of sea bass and fluke.
Captain Frank Camarda on the “Miss Beach Haven” reports decent fishing over the weekend despite problems getting a good drift going. On Saturday there were a lot of fluke caught with a keeper ratio of 10-1. The pool winner was “Pizza Pete” from Mystic Island with a 5.5-pound sea bass. Sunday was more of the same with Mike Emers the high hook with 5 keeper fluke, and William Post the pool winner with a 4.5-pound fluke.
Captain George Finck of “Sparetime Charters” had a nice combination of inshore and offshore fishing trips last week. One day he had the Laird family of Nebraska out for a good catch of fluke and sea bass. They also trolled up 20 bluefish. Another day he had his son Steve and grandson Eric out in the ocean for a nice catch of small fluke and sea bass. Both the flies and fish were biting.
Then on Friday he took Ken Lieb and friends out on a canyon trolling trip. They returned with four nice yellowfin tuna along with four 20-pound class mahi-mahi. On Sunday Captain George was back inshore with Milan and Elliott Indrisek for a good catch of sea bass and fluke. Young Elliot topped the day with a 22-inch fluke.
Captain Lindsay Fuller had a canyon trip on the “June Bug” Monday consisting of all lawyers including a justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. They left prior to midnight Sunday night and were fishing by 4:30. They had small yellowfin tuna immediately at 100 fathoms, but there were only 3 keepers out of the 10 caught. Despite their size they hit hard and fought like bigger fish.
Additional information on the association can be found at www.BHCFA.com


Knight Ridder Washington Bureau] - August 17, 2009 -WASHINGTON, Ocean surface temperatures around the world were the warmest on record for the month of June, according to federal scientists, though they caution that one month doesn't necessarily imply global warming.

The warmer temperatures do confirm that an ocean phenomenon known as El Nino is building in the Pacific Ocean.

Some scientists think the rising temperatures hint at broader changes, perhaps resulting from global climate change. Environmentalists and fishermen are wary of what it may mean.

'It's really kind of disturbing,' said Zeke Grader, the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, based in San Francisco. 'What we've seen right offshore here is a real variation in temperature. But we don't know what to expect in the future.'

So far, the year has been among the warmest on record for ocean temperatures, ranking sixth based on January through June. The June temperature averaged 62.56 degrees Fahrenheit; the 20th-century average was 61.5 degrees. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been keeping the records since 1880.

'The high ocean temperatures can threaten coral reefs, provide more energy to hurricanes, cause thermal expansion, which would raise sea level and inundate coasts, force the relocation of some aquatic species and thus impact fisheries,' said Ahira Sanchez-Lugo, a climate scientist with NOAA.

The hottest spots were the north Pacific south of Alaska, along the U.S. West Coast and the Atlantic Ocean off New England. Overall, the Pacific was the warmest. The measurements were taken for every 5 degrees of latitude, however, and an overall temperature for each ocean wasn't calculated, said Deke Arndt, a climate scientist with NOAA in Ashville, N.C.

'Individually, no single month can be attributed to long-term global warming,' Arndt said, though he added that this June marked the 33rd consecutive June with a temperature above the 20th-century average, which may provide an indication of global warming.

In addition to having the warmest waters, this June saw the second warmest combined ocean and land temperature on record, 61.02 degrees, which was more than a degree above the 20th-century average of 59.9.

Though some climatologists dismiss the June heat as an anomaly, others say it's part of a traditional El Nino pattern. Occurring roughly every three to eight years, El Nino is a warming of water in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which can disrupt usual weather patterns. During an El Nino year, the Southwest United States tends to be wetter, the Northwest drier and there's an increased chance of severe weather, such as hurricanes, in the Southern United States.

'Current conditions and trends, as well as the majority of dynamic climate models, are suggesting that (El Nino) will indeed occur,' said Karsten Shein, another climate scientist with NOAA.

Grader said fishermen were worried about their catches, and he, for one, thinks that it isn't just El Nino that's causing the higher ocean temperatures.

'Colder water fish will go north,' he said. 'It'll affect phytoplankton and krill production. You'll see salmon getting smaller.'

Other fishermen aren't as concerned.

'We've fished El Ninos before,' said Larry Collins, 52, a commercial fisherman based at Fishermen's Wharf in San Francisco. 'There's good and bad things about El Ninos for the California coast. Nature will throw you a curveball.'

(c) 2009, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. Distributed by Mclatchy-Tribune News Service.

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