Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Monday, October 31, 2011: The storm nailed the entrance to Holgate. What else is new? It’s in a state of repair, so to speak, but not open to the passing public. Then there’s the arriving short-easter. Look for possible NE winds to 35 knots, 6 to 8 feet beachfront, much larger out at sea. It’ll be another bout of bass weather. And if you can’t get enough of storm-age, look for another system by Friday.
All in all, this is an invitation to foul-weather anglers. The last blow, the stripers responded almost immediately. This go’round, they’ll be more or less in place from Saturday’s wind whipping.
By the weekend, things will look both good and fairly fishy. The sun will invite the lightweight surfcasters.
The Classic spurted during the south winds on Friday, with a few scale-tested stripers on Saturday. However, things have gone dead quiet, post icy rain.
Note: The best way to monitor the Classic is to go to the weigh-in page: http://www.visitlbiregion.com/fish/index.cfm?action=viewResults . Once there, play with the down and up arrows. I go to “Weight” and “date,” click the down arrow and see the heaviest fish first and the most recent hookups, bottom of “Date” column. There is sometimes a gap in the time you weigh in a fish and when it shows. That has to do with the slight delay as shops get the data – as a fish is weighed in – and when the shop emails the info into home base at the Chamber.
Driving the front beaches has gotten a tad tight in areas swept by the nor’easter. Low tide is no problem. High tide has pushed buggyists up to the dune fences, even in Surf City.
During the week we saw a nice body of bass move into our area. Friday evening I went out solo and fished for an hour and a half. That was all the time I needed to box two keepers and release three others that were over 28". Unfortunately the weather caused me to cancel both trips this weekend. With a real nice number of bass we have in our area now is the time to get out there and fish! I still have some weekend dates and Thursday Nov 10 and Friday Nov 11 open. I also have 1 spot open for an open boat bay trip this Saturday Nov. 5.
Wow! That was some storm that came through here yesterday! For a while there it was gusting over 50 mph at my dock, and the bay had so much whitewater it looked like the head of a beer. Thankfully we didn't get any of the snow that came down elsewhere, since it's way too early to have to shovel out the boat before heading out.
Hopefully that's all behind us now and we can get back to fishing. We made it out three times this week between the storms, and things are starting to get interesting. Rich Smith and his son Sam came in from Yardley on Monday to box a mix of bass to 32" plus a fat 6 pound blackfish from the inlet. On Wednesday, former Jerseyan Ted Edmunds was up from Annapolis to do some striper fishing with buddies John Schultz and Dave Crafts. Moving into the back bay after a slow morning drifting live bait in the inlet, the team boxed a couple of nice bass topped by John's 38" fish that inhaled a fresh clam bait. Things started to really look up on Friday, when Lou and Michael Pochettino came out to fish in some "sporty" inlet conditions and quickly limited out on stripers to 34" before deciding to get out of the sloppy inlet and head in early. Even better was the sight of birds working over fish north of the inlet as far as I could see, a sure sign that our fall jig fishing may be about to take off.
It's always hard to predict what a storm like yesterday's nor'easter will do to the fishing, but my guess is that it will be just the trigger we've needed to get our fall fishing really underway. The cool weather has dropped the bay water temps down to near perfect levels, so we'll be mixing it up between the back bay, fishing the inlet and running the beach for the next couple of weeks. I'm down to just a couple of days available between now and our season wrap-up at Thanksgiving, so now's the time to book that final trip of the year. Until next week.
Capt. Jack Shea
Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters
From the wires:
Catch limits debated for 'most important fish in sea'
Menhaden decline raises fears for other fish, birds
watermen fear loss of income
An interstate panel that regulates fishing from Maine to Florida… (Barbara Haddock Taylor / The Baltimore Sun )
October 30, 2011|By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun
A big fight is brewing over a little fish — a fish that no one wants to eat but that many regard as the most important in the sea.
Catch restrictions loom on menhaden, which is too unsavory to grace a dinner plate but much sought by commercial fishermen. They catch them in staggering numbers to be ground into animal feed, to extract their heart-healthy oils for humans and to be used as bait to catch other fish, including Maryland's iconic blue crabs.
Menhaden also play a vital role in the Chesapeake Bay's ecosystem, feeding on plankton and serving themselves as food for many of the fish, birds and animals that people do eat or care about.
"They're a keystone species," says biologist Paul Spitzer of Trappe. Besides feeding other fish, menhaden are a staple for seabirds such as ospreys, gannets and common loons. When the fish are scarce, he says, it affects the health and abundance of other creatures as well.
Now, driven by a warning from scientists that menhaden levels are perilously low, an interstate panel that regulates fishing from Maine to Florida is weighing a range of actions that could reduce the commercial harvest of the fish by as much as 45 percent all along the coast, including in Maryland.
The proposal, to be taken up Nov. 9 at a meeting in Boston of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, is being hailed by recreational anglers and conservationists alike, who've long voiced concerns about menhaden levels, and say other animals that depend on them for food, such as highly prized striped bass, are suffering from malnourishment.
"We fished the stock down many decades ago, and have maintained a heavy enough fishing pressure that we've held it at a fairly low level," said William Goldsborough, senior scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and one of three Maryland members on the fisheries commission. It's time to leave more menhaden in the water and give them a chance to increase, he said.
But the proposal before the commission has drawn pushback from commercial fishermen in Maryland and elsewhere, who contend the science shows there's no cause for alarm and any cutback will hurt an already diminished livelihood.
"This is the last thing we've got is menhaden," says Larry "Boo" Powley of Hoopers Island, one of about 100 fishermen in Maryland who catch the fish in a pound net, a fencelike arrangement of anchored nets that lure them into a trap.
A third-generation netter, Powley, 58, and his crew of four supply the bulk of their catch to crabbers on the island for bait. If rules cut his haul back by a fifth or more, as the panel is considering, Powley warns he'll leave his boat at the dock because he won't be able to make a go of it anymore.
Nowhere is opposition more intense than in Virginia, home to a fleet that hauls in 80 percent of all the menhaden caught along the Atlantic Coast. Bait fishermen such as Powley account for the other 20 percent.
Reedville, the picturesque town on Virginia's Northern Neck where Omega Protein Inc. processes its fleet's harvest, is the second busiest fishing port in the United States (after Dutch Harbor, Alaska) by the weight of the harvest landed there.
Last year, Omega hauled in 183,000 metric tons of menhaden, according to fisheries commission data, an increase of 27 percent from the year before. About 40 percent came from the Virginia waters of the bay — the so-called "reduction" fishing fleet isn't permitted to work in Maryland.
"I think menhaden are already getting a high level of protection," Ron Lukens, Omega's chief fisheries biologist, said at a meeting last week in Anne Arundel County of a panel attempting to advise the commission on its decision.
With representatives from Omega, Virginia and New Jersey insisting no change is needed, the group reached no consensus.
A nationwide group of 75 scientists, however, says menhaden need greater protection, in part so they can fulfill their role as water filters and food source for other fish and animals.
Scientists reviewing the fisheries commission's latest assessment of the menhaden stock noted that the population has fallen over the last 25 years, to the point that they're now only 8 percent of their historic level. Overfishing occurred in 32 of the last 54 years, the study concluded, including 2008, the most recent year studied.
Omega's spokesman, Ben Landry, says those numbers are deceptive. The menhaden catch exceeded the commission's harvest threshold only once in the last 10 years, he points out, and then only slightly. The population is not overfished, he said, and with an estimated 18 trillion eggs produced in 2008, there's no danger of collapse.
Omega employs 300 people on its nine-vessel fishing fleet and in its processing factory at Reedville, Landry says, and has invested $28 million to $30 million upgrading its plant in the past eight years.
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((()))))))))))))))))))))))))))[Seafoodnews.com] - By Jack MacAndrew - October 31, 2011 -