Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Monday, July 29, 2019: I’m slacking off a bit in here … and there might be more slack to come ... answering gathered question

Weekend activity off bayside IBSP: Love seeing the fun-having but wonder a bit about septic matters. Hope folks are using their heads. 

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Below: I must be getting slow. It took me a solid half minute to get this ... then I cracked up!


Monday, July 29, 2019: I’m slacking off a bit in here … and there might be more slack to come as my heavy summer work season burgeons onward. I do this blog on the side -- and often in one take, meaning typos and such. By the by, I might be doing a fall fundraiser this year. I’ve laid off for a few years, but the intrinsic costs are very draining.

Below are tons of look-sees regarding fishing, as in folks actually catching stuff.

Of new import, bluefish have returned with a vengeance in some places, to the tune of one-pounders on every cast. I had two reports from surfcasters mugging them and a couple more tales of bail sessions near inlets. One must wonder if those are bay blues driven out of a (possible) record-warm bay.

Surf has been significantly riled. Four-foot medium-period swells from further out at sea have shown, with a two-foot wind swell chopping things up. The stir has the water murkier than it had been for much of the summer. Much? Yes, a goodly chunk of summer is kaput.

Water temps near the beach have shown the upwelling effects of south winds, though only dropping into the upper 60s, nothing overly dramatic.

Eelgrass has been an off-and-on problem along the beach and, less frequently, around inlets.  

Taking care of a couple e-questions.

“What’s up with the Causeway fishing area?”

I still have no idea when the lengthy fishing/crabbing park-like area on the north side of the Causeway (just west of Big Bridge) will open. I was once told “soon.” We’re way beyond what I assumed “soon” meant. Maybe I misheard. It was actually “Sooner or later.”

Regardless of your read about the crabbiness or fishiness off that two-hundred-yard stretch of bulkheaded bayfront, I promise you it will offer an exceptional bay look-about. I’ll repeat that a nearby channel should offer fine fishing, mainly late and early. Might even have blowfish potential … in years to come. The current puffer bite is about to deflate due to migratory trends and I can’t see the area opening for many weeks. Right now, they’re doing work thereabouts. Heavy equipment is in play.

Crabbing along that wall/walkway will depend on the savvy of neck-tossers and trap-slingers. I know that somewhere along there blue claws will be on the grab. Tides will loom large.

“Any size limit or bag limit on kingfish.”

No and no. I just think too small is too small. I can’t equate that to inches but hold one in your hand and say “Nah” throwing this one back in.

“Do fishermen need beach badges?”

Yes, if fishing during guarded hours, generally 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., though 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Ship Bottom. If you disagree, please don’t mix it up with the badge checkers, they have nothing to do with the rules and are often just kids trying to do a kinda dirty job. If you want to vent, go to town hall. I shouldn’t mention this, but some towns allow more leniency when it comes to checkers bypassing surfcasters.

(Very commonly asked) “Does anyone (anglers) ever get checked by Fish and Game?

Speaking in surfcasting terms, the answer is NJ Fish and Wildlife officers “rarely if ever” check. But, that will surely change the instant you do anything even remotely wrong. Food for thought.

Far more often – and I’m not suggesting you’d be seen trying anything fishy – it’s other anglers who angrily espy angling sins being committed, especially regarding size or bag limits. That sometimes-ugly interplay is very much a boat angling bugaboo. I’ve more than once seen one boatload of anglers heatedly letting another suspected guilty boatload of fishing folks know what they think. That can ruin a session for all involved. Not worth it. Just play by the rules. And I realize your question might not have been even remotely geared toward violating.

Of import: The enforcement of boating laws is very common. For boat anglers – and even pleasure boaters – you better keep a tight ship since the eyes of the man might very well be upon you. Binoculars can see great distances.

“Is there a law against wasting fish?” This came from someone whose neighbor allegedly threw a “bunch of big bluefish” in a lagoon, whole.

I believe Jersey is among many/most states prohibiting “wanton waste” of wildlife resources. Personally, the most common wanton waste accusations I’ve seen (by far) have to do with, yep, bluefish.

Over the years, I’ve gotten easily a dozen calls from folks finding discarded uncleaned bluefish, mainly along roadways. I’ve also found them discarded deep in the woods, which took some effort on the dumper's part. I’ve been told by Garden State Parkway authorities that they’ve seen a number of clandestine bluefish dumpings.

That bemoaned, the lack of big blues in recent falls has kept those incidents down, though your case (this past spring) brings the problem back to light.

The most I can suggest is calling town hall. There might be a public health issue involved. Fish and Wildlife officers have bigger fish to fry.

Once again (as in “Please!”), don’t play enforcer. We’re learning the hard way that we’ve become one of the more homicidally inclined nations in the world. Dead fish are not worth dying over.


Dante Soriente
24th season fishing offshore tournaments with Michael Yocco pretty crazy to think where we started fishing snappers off my pops dock at 6 years old to now!! What a way to break in the new 53 Ocean Mike busted his ass all last week getting the boat finished and ready in North Carolina to get it up here in time for the 2019 Huk big fish classic. With a boat 75% done we headed out looking for a blue caught 3 whites early and a wahoo. Few hours of slow trolling when I saw a blue come up on the teaser!! I quickly jumped up and hand fed him the short rigger he ate and it was game on!! Seeing the fish air at the bait 20 feet from my face I knew it was a qualifying fish. Crew quickly cleared the spread and we went to war!! 25 minutes into battle I had leader in hands end game was scripted perfect and I had him on side of boat. Ryan N Julia Schramm stuck the flyer in him as Ryan Stanek did a great job cranking her in. Slid her in the boat 110 inches and in we went. Weighed 438 and new tourney record. That lasted 15 mi it's till Pumping hard came in with a 455. Off we went back out sword fished 30 minutes before light and caught a 54 inch fish which didn't make length. During the day went 8-10 on whites. Will Kayhart plugs are the best plugs we ever trolled. Fishing sh just cant get off of them. Shawn Hawthorne cranked in a bunch of fish for us. Joe Yoccowas there as always our mentor and fish whisper. What a great tournament for team Mjs and good practice run for the big boys coming up. Hate to sound cocky and full of ourselfs but hard work pays off and nobody works hard than Mike Yocco. That's another tournament victory added to his unstoppable resume. Pretty surreal to have won with Bigeyes, Yellowfin, wahoo, Bluefin, White Marlin, Blue Marlin. The Babe Ruth of the offshore game. Thanks Bob Duckenfield for all the tackle and extra work you do for us. Joey LaMonica for the best rods on earth. Cortland line Brooks Robinsonand the old ladies for letting us do this. Svet Messick Krista Buccella.
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Capt. Alex <lhsportfishing@comcast.net>
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The warmer ocean water has brought in some cool stuff. Saturday, we scored this nice Mahi (pic attached) within a few miles of the inlet.  We also boxed two chicken dolphin (small Mahi). There were many more Mahi swimming below the Debbie M, but they had lock jaw, or were full. The later likely being the case, because when I cleaned them, their bellies were jam packed of 1-2’ herring. Also saw flying fishing around the ridge and tons of small bonito.  Note: if you are seeing flying fish there, there maybe Mahi or kingfish (king mackerel) around.  Then on today’s outing in the bay, we landed a sharksucker (aka remora). See pics attached. OK, enough about the cool stuff, how about a report?  Blowfishing is still strong as is fluke fishing. Tons of small fluke, just need to go big or go home empty cooler type of fluke fishery. Small blues are still present and resident bass are acting like it is summer out. Wait, it is summer. You can catch bass if you want, but need to play your cards right. Still have not given weakfish a shot. 

On the nature side of things: for some reason the bay is clearer this summer than in many years past. Not complaining, but why? Usually the bay visibility decreases during the summer as the water warms and the algae population goes through the roof. This roof blowing off growth is often fueled by nutrient laden storm water runoff from lawn fertilizer after rain events. Lots of rain events that causes unnatural algae blooms, as it has been doing for decades. Well, we have had the rain, so why no algae blooms? Being a scientist I need data to support any claims about anything. Without data, I can only theorize, or speculate. So here are some suspects: Oyster Creek power plant shut down in September 2018 and is not discharging 110 million gallons of extra warm water into the bay daily; we are getting betting with fertilizer use and stormwater management; filter feeding bivalves, clams and oysters, are making a comeback which helps to naturally filter the bay; or with better fisheries management bunker, which are also feeders, are also making a big comeback. Could be any of these, or none, or a combination, but we will have to wait for Mother Nature’s right hand man, Father Time, to shed some clarity. 

Screaming drags, 

Capt. Alex



Danny Mears
First bigeye tuna of many tagged and released for the ICCAT Atlantic Ocean tropical tuna tagging program 
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Capt. Stanman
Above: Caught in very deep water off Haterras, N. C., it is called a Lancet Fish, supposed to be good eating.
Its a keeper! My father has given me a new name "Top Hooker". I caught about 20 flounder!!!!

Welcome Mary Ellen and my Coast Guard Shipmate, Rich!! So glad you two are here being up to no good with Carole Ann and me.

It is beautiful in Beach Haven this morning, sunny, clear and cool, right now. The surf is calm with 2 to 3 foot waves. There is no wind right now. The ocean temp is a balmy 75°. You will need 3 to 4 ounces to hold. The air temp is 71° and heading to 82°.

...See More
Greg Kopenhaver is with Lori Fillar Kopenhaver.
Flat ocean today so we headed a little further offshore than normal. Got some bonito early and then got our limit of sea bass on a deep wreck we found. Good eats for the weekend!
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This mornings trip: fishing was relatively slow but a few nice fluke and Seabass were taken. The water is so clear and beautiful!!! Also seeing many rays and Spanish mackerel and caught a Bonita. There is always some kind of action going on at sea!!! Hope to see you on board and bring the kids!!!

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Benjamin Howell
Ilin Martinez
Sexy isn't it.
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Kirsten Holloway is in Barnegat Light, New Jersey.
This Bonita made for a fun fight on my little Shimano spinning rod #Sashi


You couldn’t ask for a nicer day on the water. The drift was slower then yesterday but we still had some action. The water is gorgeous in color and clarity and we are seeing a lot of Bonita, Spanish Mackerel, and some Mahi should up also, rays were around to. Always something going on at sea!! Check out the pics of today’s catch!

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Greg O'Connell
For his birthday he wanted to go fishing with Capt Harvey. I must be doing something right.

Happy 12th Bday Dylan! And way to put a couple dinners in the frig.

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Native forest plants rebound when invasive shrubs are removed

Seven years of invasive shrub removal from the Hartley Wood in The Arboretum at Penn State promoted plant diversity and facilitated passive natural regeneration of native canopy tree seedlings, understory woody species and woodland herbaceous species. Among them (top left to right) Indianpipe, mayapple and hepatica, (bottom left to right) spotted geranium, waxflower shinleaf and mapleleaf viburnum.

Jeff Mulhollem

May 14, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Removing invasive shrubs to restore native forest habitat brings a surprising result, according to Penn State researchers, who say desired native understory plants display an unexpected ability and vigor to recolonize open spots.

"The regeneration of native plants that we saw where invasive shrubs had been removed exceeds what we expected from looking at uninvaded parts of the forest," said researcher Erynn Maynard-Bean, who recently earned her doctoral degree in ecology.

"We believe that's because invasive shrubs take up residence in the best spots in the forest. They are most successful where there are the most resources — sunlight, soil nutrients and water. Then, when invasive shrubs are removed, the growth of native plants in those locations beats expectations."

She drew that conclusion after participating in a long-term project in the Arboretum at Penn State, which involved repeated removals of a suite of 18 invasive shrub species and closely monitoring the growth of native plants. That removal experiment was initiated by Margot Kaye, associate professor of forest ecology. In the experiment, after invasives were removed over seven years, plant diversity, native understory species abundance and overstory tree species regeneration, increased.

forest understory

Removing invasive shrubs thinned the forest understory because native plants (top) don't grow as dense as invasive shrubs (bottom).

The study took place in a woodlot known as the Hartley Wood, a unique old-growth tract of about 42 acres adjacent to what is now a municipal park, where the mostly oak, hickory and maple trees escaped the loggers' blades. A massive white oak that died there in 2000 was determined to have germinated around 1673. But likely because of its proximity to many landscaped homes, the Hartley Wood has been beset by an invasion of exotic plants, and Arboretum managers hope to eliminate them.

Significantly, Maynard-Bean noted, the research demonstrates that simply assessing the abundance of invasive shrubs and native plants in a forest can minimize the perceived negative impacts that invasive shrubs have on native plant numbers.

"We found that seven years of invasive shrub removal boosted natural regeneration of native plants that exceeded the abundance measured in unmanaged forest understories with low levels of shrub invasion," she said. "In this study, in which invasive shrubs have been prominent in the understory for more than 20 years, an ambient sampling approach underestimates the effect of invasive shrubs and the benefits of their removal."

This research has allowed the native forest plant community to respond to invasive removal over nearly a decade, and highlights the capacity for that system to rebound, pointed out Kaye, whose research group in the College of Agricultural Sciences has been studying the impacts of woody shrub invasion on eastern forest dynamics for even longer.

The findings of the study, published recently in Invasive Plant Science and Management, are important, Kaye explained, because invasive shrubs are increasing in abundance at the expense of native species across eastern deciduous forests of North America. Interest in invasive shrub removal to restore native habitat is growing but forest managers are not sure about how much natural regeneration of native plants they can expect.

"A lot of people think that when you remove invasive shrubs you have to plant natives, and that is obviously helpful but difficult to afford on a large scale,” Maynard-Bean said. "But there are native plants in the forest that are mixed with the invasives, and if you maintain the removal, the natives will come back in and take over."

The research is relevant because eastern deciduous forests are becoming more fragmented as urban and suburban areas extend into forests, and associated edges and open spaces have allowed invasive shrubs to make inroads. That does not bode well for wildlife, Maynard-Bean said.

native and invasive species

Because invasive shrubs (bottom) take up residence in the best spots in the forest, when they are removed, the growth of native plants in those locations beats expectations.

 "Native plants in the understory contribute to the health and stability of the forest ecosystem," she said. "Native shrubs don't reach the same density in the understory as invasive shrubs do, and that has implications for bird, insect and even forest amphibian communities."

The Arboretum at Penn State, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Penn State’s Ecology Intercollege Graduate Degree Program and Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center supported this work.

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Comment by Allen Lawrence Jr. on July 30, 2019 at 11:14am

Hello Jay,that area on the causeway you're talking about I am pretty sure is the same area we used to crab and fish from over 50 years ago before they closed it off because of all the trash people were leaving behind. Actually where I caught my very first Striper about 12 " around 1964. I didn't even know what it was and had to ask my Dad before I released it. It will be great to see it opened up again. On another subject you spoke of ,I have been checked on the beach while surf fishing up here in Monmouth County for the Saltwater Registry Card of I always have with me.  Witnessed a scuba diver throw back a 17 1/2" sub legal Fluke he had speared after he said he didn't have anything to measure it with and a young woman measured it for him. He wasn't a young man either and was fully outfitted in all his scuba gear except NOTHING to measure a fish with,WTH?  Shame there wasn't a Warden nearby at the time. Also overheard another Scuba diver talking that said he shot a 22" Striper and threw it back.This was under the Shark River Inlet Bridge closest to the ocean.

Comment by jaymann on July 30, 2019 at 11:29am

I think so, Allen. It's called Man-made Island and did have a pull-off in the past. Hopefully, you can get me a report or two when it opens. The DOT has increased the workforce there. Check it out as you drive past. 


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